WHEN Queensland farmers were battling a crippling drought in 2017 Martin Corkery packed his bags and visited remote towns to see what he and Rotary could do to help.
He travelled thousands of kilometres visiting rotary clubs in eight major country areas.
The long-time Ipswich Rotarian still talks with great emotion about that experience.
It was also the catalyst for Martin to continue his mission to help others in major projects identified by his Rotary fraternity.
Well past retirement age Martin may not have the same energy and maneuverability he had as a 30-year-old, but that did not stop him from embarking on his latest physically demanding project to war torn Ukraine.
Even when his travelling partner, a fellow Rotarian, pulled out at the last-minute Martin still went ahead flying to Krakow, Poland from where he was driven 350km to get across the Ukrainian border.
He simply says he went because he relates to the plight of the Ukrainians and he wants to help.
“When you travel through Ukraine you hear of many who are visiting and offering a lot, but delivering little,” he said.
“My message everywhere I went to was ‘I am here and I will do everything I can to help’.
“I spoke at eight Rotary clubs across the country to find out first-hand what was needed, and I have come back with a big wish list to put forward to the Rotary Foundation,” he said.
“Rotary had already identified the need to refurbish bomb damaged schools and to help supply civilian ambulances and medical equipment. My visit hopefully will help provide the details about how we can facilitate this.”
Martin spent more than two months in the country staying with local families and paying them for their hospitality. That gave him the chance to hear straight from the people about their hopes and wishes.
“They are so grateful for the support of western countries and they remain optimistic about the future and an independent Ukraine,” Martin said.
He said he only had one moment when he feared for his life when he heard a Russian missile whistle closely overhead. “I was staying with a family and I had to ask them what the noise was,” he said.
“Fortunately, it slammed into a vacant building just nearby and no-one was hurt.” Martin is now working to get the help he promised