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BRATTLEBORO — While the Australian bushfires were being put out, Rotary clubs in Vermont and New Hampshire were gathering funds to help with the aftermath. This has resulted in close to $25,000 being donated to the effort.

According to Rotary District Governor Nancy Russell, there are 60 Rotary Clubs in District 7870. Russell said, "We saw homes destroyed, animals injured, children sheltering, and forests in flames and we knew we had to act."

Russell continued, "We reached out to Australian Rotary and began working with Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) that had established the Rotary National Bushfires Appeal."

"In Australia, Rotary is a 'second response' organization that moves in after the first response phase is complete," said Mike Whitehouse, RAWCS treasurer. "This includes replacement of infrastructure such as community halls and other facilities, as well as reconstruction of farming fences and sheds."

Whitehouse added, "Volunteer teams of Rotarians are involved in this hands-on approach."

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Locally, the Brattleboro Rotary Club and Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary Club donated $500 towards this effort.

"We have all seen the disastrous fires that have erupted, taking lives as well as destroying hundreds of homes and properties across Australia, " said Brattleboro Rotary Club President Carla Lineback. "Rotary is once again taking the lead and looking to provide support for families in need."

Whitehouse added, "The collaboration RAWCS has formed with The Rotary Foundation and the 21 Australian district governors is harnessing the real power of Rotary to distribute money in a sustainable manner, to where it is needed, in a fair and equitable way, with full corporate governance and accountability.