Have you heard of “Team Flood Relief?” It is a fundraising initiative designed to help the flood affected community of Eugowra, and is being driven home by well known Parkes local and racing industry identity, Michael Dumesny.
Born and raised in Parkes, Michael started coaching rugby league in Eugowra after spending time in the town where his partner and two young daughters resided. “I ended up coaching and being on the committee for four years and absolutely loved the place, loved the people and made many good friends,” said Michael.
The horrific flash flood that hit Eugowra on 14th November took two lives, and 150 Eugowra residents had to be airlifted to safety. Michael said: “My little girls still live out there and although they were not involved in the floods physically, they basically lost everything in their lives when that little town flooded.”
“I also saw a lot of heartache from some of my very good friends. After being out there on and off for the few weeks after the major wave hit, I knew I had to help in some way.”
It all started when Michael and his good friend and fellow Parkes Harness Racing trainer/driver Brett Hutchings were throwing around a few ideas of ways to make some money through racing. One thing led to another and Team Flood Relief was formed.
Brett Hutchings has pledged a part of his driving fee and winning driving percentage right up until New Years Eve at Parkes towards the current flood situation in Eugowra and Forbes.
Michael posted the concept of Team Flood Relief and Brett’s pledge through his social media channels and it instantly received well over 100 shares. Before he knew it, people were phoning and messaging him wanting to be involved. Within four days the numbers had ballooned and there well over 60 people involved in the fundraising effort.
Team Flood Relief is made up of some of the biggest names in the racing industry across Harness Racing, Thoroughbred Racing and Greyhound Racing.
Michael considers anyone who has contributed in any way to be part of the team. He was unwilling to name the big racing identities that have supported Team Flood Relief, and appreciates each and every person who has assisted the cause, regardless of the size of their contribution.
“We will be raising money in any way we can. Whether that be through drivers, trainers and owners winning races and donating part of their winnings or through silks that have been sponsored and specially made and sponsored. Direct donations from people have been humbling and unreal,” explained Michael.
Racing is in Michael’s blood, and he has been around the industry since birth. “Our family owned ‘Ruby Vale’ stud at Alectown and most of my weekends growing up consisted of being around the horses.”
In Michael’s later years he moved to the media side of things, writing stories, working on radio and eventually ending up a race broadcaster. As far back as he can remember, racing has been an important part of his life.
We asked Michael what his message for the Eugowra community would be? Michael went on to say, “I guess my main message is that we are just hoping everyone is coping as well as they can both physically and mentally in these tough times. We have got their backs one hundred percent and will work our backsides off to make as much money as we can for that beautiful community. If we can put a small ray of light into their days that is all we are trying to achieve.”