Riley, 14, organises water run to drought-stricken community
WHEN young trucking fanatic Riley McIntosh heard there were communities doing it tough in the drought-stricken Darling River regions of NSW, there was only one thing to do - get on social media and reach out to family friend Gordy Parsons.
Gordy is a big-hearted truckie from NSW who is no stranger to helping out farmers in times of need.
With Gordy's persuasive influence on Riley's dad Rod McIntosh, owner of a busy water tanker business in Warragul, Victoria, a plan was quickly hatched by the selfless 14-year-old.
Rod and Gordy would share driving duties in the family-owned Western Star 4800 B-double, with Gordy digging deep to pay for more than $1400 in diesel to power the 2400km round-trip.
Using money raised working at his part-time truck detailing business - he has up to five trucks on the books at any one time - Riley did his bit too, shelling out $174 of his hard-earned pocket money for 37,500 litres of fresh drinking water from Gippsland.
And as quickly as that, Riley's Run into the outback was born.
The only hitch in the compassionate plan was a late diversion from the original destination of Wilcannia in the central Darling Shire to the nearby mining town of White Cliffs.
Wilcannia wasn't set up to take such a volume of water at short notice, but White Cliffs town ganger Tony Latham was only too happy to accommodate, much to the delight of the 50 or so residents who turned out to meet the young fella who had come to their aid.
"I was blown away," said Gordy of the reception the trio received upon arrival.
"We got free accommodation, food, beer, you name it."
The town, sweltering under a January average of 42 degrees, only has 60 days water left in its dam, and Tony said he hasn't seen a drought this bad in the region since he moved there in 1976.
"This is a good full stop to my school holidays I reckon," said a humble Riley, who drove the Western Star, on private land, the final few hundred metres.
Riley, who has dreamed of following in his old man's footsteps for as long as he can remember, said he'd love to organise a return run to the region if time permits around Year 9 commitments at school.
Meanwhile, Gordy has set up a Facebook fundraiser to offset costs, and in a matter of days Riley's Run had raised more than $3000 of the $10,000 target.
"We have to do something when the government is just sitting back and doing nothing," Gordy said.