THE Salvation Army’s outback flying padre, Mark Bulow, says many of the farmers and station owners he visits are simply looking for a sympathetic listener to vent their anger, fears and frustration.

Based in Dalby in the heart of the Darling Downs, Captain Bulow’s “beat” stretches across 600,000 square kilometres west to the South Australian and Northern Territory, north to the Blackall-Tambo region and south to the NSW border.

Weather permitting, he climbs into his Cessna 182 four-seater aircraft, often accompanied by Salvos’ colleague and trained relationship and family counsellor, Jason Bewick, for face-to-face visits with people struggling with hardship and loneliness on remote rural properties and in isolated communities.

“He is very humble in the way he’s helped us”The former cabinet maker grew up on a mixed farm in the region, which he said had provided him with a deep understanding of how drought and mounting debt could affect the physical health and mental wellbeing of country people.

Whether flying or driving his four-wheel-drive, Captain Bulow always carries a swag in case he has to sleep under the stars. Last year he clocked up about 47,000 kilometres on the road and 200 hours in the sky working as one of the Salvos’ 13 rural chaplains located across the nation.

He often visits people more than once to provide ongoing help and support to those who need a hand.

Captain Bulow first made contact with Don and Kim Noon, livestock producers south of Mitchell, during the 2012 floods.

He has visited them several times since, providing material assistance like fencing wire and pliers and also helping out on their farm.

For Mr Noon, Captain Bulow has been a good sounding board.

“I’ve known him for nearly two years and he is very humble in the way he’s helped us,” Mr Noon said.

“Sometimes he will just call in with something, like pliers, and his support has been generous.”

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has endorsed the Salvos’ Rural Appeal which will raise donations during February to help finance the work of chaplains like Captain Bulow.

NFF president Brent Finlay said farmers understood the importance of giving and receiving help when it was needed.

“Strong, tough and hardy people need help from time to time. We all do. It’s part of being human.

“Farmers care about their fellow Australians and we’re grateful to know that they care about us, too.”

The Salvation Army’s Rural Support Services relies on corporate and individual donations to help fund its work.

“Having supported farmers for more than 100 years we know rural communities go through times of plenty and times of need,” said Pam Wilkes from the Salvos’ Rural Support Services.

“Our network of rural support personnel provide help for people living and working in rural areas well beyond times of crisis and the needs are increasing,” she said.

“If rural communities not suffering drought can get behind our rural appeal, they will be enabling us to grow our much-needed support services for regional communities, ensuring The Salvation Army will be there for them, and others, when times are tough.”

• To make a donation or to find out more, visit 苏州美甲美睫培训学校salvos.org419论坛/rural or call 13 72 58.

• If you need help or someone to talk to, call Salvo Care Line on 1300 36 36 22.

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