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SouthCare started on 1 October 1998. Now 15 years later, the service has saved many lives and prevented added disability by the excellent work of flight crew, the paramedics, and the doctors of the Canberra Region Retrieval Service.

In this, we acknowledge the enormous contribution of the late Dr Damien McMahon whose death occurred last month while on a visit to Jerusalem.

Masonicare has a disaster relief program for major disasters. SouthCare helps to minimise local disasters on a one by one basis across the ACT and southern NSW. Every day there is a task or two or three. In one memorable day in June 2012, there was response to no less than five missions in 24 hours. So we now have a defined partnership between Masonicare and Snowy Hydro SouthCare and the wide support of Freemasonry across 53 lodges in the ACT and southern NSW for this vital need.

At the official Launch of the Freesmasons Appeal for Snowy Hydro SouthCare by the Grand Master MW Bro Derek Robson on Sunday afternoon, 23 September, he noted that 53 lodges were in the area of operations of the aeromedical rescue service. A number of lodges and individuals had contributed to the funds raised in the three months leading up to the launch but this was only the start and it was hoped all would be involved in future fundraising. The Grand Master noted that Masonicare had contributed $5000 by way of an Interaction Grant to Lodge Commonwealth of Australia 633 and he paid tribute to the continued support for the appeal from RW Bro Graham Davies, Masonicare Manager South.

In his address the Grand Master expressed his appreciation for the support of the brethren of the 53 lodges scattered around such a huge area of south-eastern NSW and ACT which is being serviced by SouthCare. He saw it as great interaction between Freemasonry and our communi- ties and commended the organisers on their initiative.

A real life example of the value of our having SouthCare in the area was given by Brigadier Wayne Goodman whose life was saved by the 'chopper when he was knocked unconscious in a fall from his bike, was res- cued and taken to hospital where he awoke to find out what had happened to him.

The Grand Master then declared the Appeal open and presented a cheque of $16430 to the CEO of SouthCare, Owen Finegan, who responded suitably, thanking Freemasonry for their involvement and donations.

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