Best friends pull together in Moruya
In January 2020, bushfires ravaged the NSW South Coast. With the largest aged care presence in the region, IRT faced a catastrophic bushfire threat across seven sites. In this series of stories, we celebrate the courage, resilience and leadership of our employees, who kept our centres operating and our residents safe.
Best friends and neighbours Kim Strahan and Donna Edwards work in the kitchen at IRT Moruya. As fire threatened Moruya on New Year’s Eve, Kim and Donna came to work and started cooking. They did not stop for the next 48 hours, staying awake and turning out meals for 70-odd people – more than double the usual number of residents – while battling power outages and food shortages. In between cooking, they walked with dementia residents to keep them calm.
Kim Strahan: “We were cooking with one saucepan on a single gas burner to start with. We had one saucepan, no power and 70 residents. We never slept all day or night. It was just like a summer camp.”
Donna Edwards: “We had to use the food sparingly because the supermarkets were closed. We had meatballs and big tins of spaghetti. So I tipped the meatballs into the spaghetti and everyone loved it. We filled people up with fruit, cakes, and cups of tea. I actually enjoyed it, if you know what I mean. We made it fun. I always think when I’m elderly I’d like to be looked after well. I try to look after our residents in the same way.”