Thanks day support grows

FULL COVERAGE: National Red Balloon Day from start to finish

TWO Bendigo women are encouraging the community to display a balloon out the front of their homes to thank Australia's firefighters. 

Jody Hardiman and Aleasha Gilbert, with Steve Lang from Frankston and Craig Hamilton from Benella, are organising National Red Balloon Day on February 28. 

The idea has attracted support from across the country.    

Ms Hardiman said the idea for a national campaign had been taken from a similar event in Geelong called Red Balloon Week. 

"I am not taking credit for the thought of it," she said. 

"It was started in Geelong, I just thought of the idea to take it nationally.

"The police have their day as do the SES but there is nothing for firefighters.

The police have their day as do the SES but there is nothing for firefighters. - Jody Hardiman

"What we went through in Bendigo not that long ago, I was evacuated from the fires and it is the most scariest thing.

"These guys go into it, the majority of them don't get paid for it, and they risk their lives to save other people's lives." 

Ms Hardiman said the event had started as a simple Facebook post on Saturday and had since attracted about 5000 likes. 

She said the Country Fire Authority headquarters in Melbourne had offered support as well as other brigades around the central Victorian region. 

She said various businesses were also getting on board, with a Sydney company donating the hosting service for the website.  

"The support we are getting is amazing," she said. 

"It started as just something to do locally but it is just so much more bigger than that and it's growing."

"Every state and territory is showing support.

"We have even had support from overseas."

Ms Hardiman said the committee was in the middle of registering the idea as a non-for-profit organisation. 

She said an order for 5000 red balloons with a message of thanks printed on the surface had been placed. 

Ms Hardiman said the balloons could be purchased online.

She said balloons could be secured to a letterbox, fence or front gate as an offer of thanks. 

Ms Hardiman said any profit made from selling the balloons would go back to the firefighters. 

"If you buy a balloon from New South Wales that money will go to New South Wales, if you buy it from Queensland it will go to Queensland," she said. 

"We want to let the firies know that we do appreciate their work."

Ms Hardiman said the February date was chosen because it was the last day of the fire season. 

"Hopefully the worst of our fire season is over then," she said. 

Balloons cost $1 each and can be purchased in packs of one, five or 10. 

To buy a balloon visit www.nationalredballoonday.com  

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