Emma* and her husband had already been buffeted by life’s turmoil when nature decided to throw a storm of its own their way, but the Salvos helped them stay afloat.
In March 2017, Cyclone Debbie and subsequent flooding hit the Queensland and Northern NSW coasts, causing an estimated $2 billion in damage, and claiming many lives.
Emma’s 85-year-old husband was desperately ill, and when an insurance company subsequently declined an application to fix their damaged roof, the couple was left deeply shaken.
Emma shares: After the cyclone, with all the leaves and debris, we had to get the roofing chap to come in. He said to us, ‘Your roof has sustained extensive damage.’
I wasn’t a bit worried because we’d had insurance for years. But the big blow came when the insurance people said, “It’s an old roof” and they were not going to pay the cost of replacing it.
This was at a terrible time. My husband was seriously ill with severe heart failure and lots of complications with his kidneys. He was in a very, very bad way.
The only money I had on hand—I know this sounds awful but it’s true—was the money I had scratched together to save for his funeral (which sadly I thought was imminent). The situation with the roof on top of the illness threw me into state of real depression and caused enormous stress to my husband.
We’d never been in a situation like this before. Then somebody said to me, “Try The Salvation Army.”
I hated doing it, but I rang and, honestly, the kindness and compassion we received were totally beyond any expectations.
In fact, I just couldn’t hold back the tears. It took me about three visits before I could pull myself together and speak sensibly to the lovely, caring Salvo ladies who came out to see us.
They replaced our damaged roof (through a disaster fund) and all I can say, honestly and completely humbly, is how stunned and grateful we are.
We have never been rich, but always paid our way. We are pensioners and very, very lucky in every other respect. My husband has a wonderful GP and also has a great cardiologist and kidney specialist. We have a lot to be thankful for.
I don’t go to church, but I very much believe God is here with us, and for us— the help we received from The Salvation Army was like a gift from heaven. We still can’t believe it. Since then my husband’s even improved a bit. I think the stress at the time was pretty hard on him.
I’ve always given to The Salvation Army because my father was in the war and he always used to say, “Thank God for the Salvos.”
I just can’t express what it did for us in this particular time. We were both really, really down. That’s the honest truth. I’ve never felt so helpless in my life.
I just want Salvos donors to know how terribly grateful we are. It made such a difference in our case and reminded us that there are so many good people out there!
* Name changed at her request.
As told to Naomi Singlehurst