Defence force community barbecue in Glen Innes

Soldiers Lauren Brown from Perth, Ian Cooper from Brisbane, Mark Wood from Melbourne and Hudson Snook from Victoria.
Soldiers Lauren Brown from Perth, Ian Cooper from Brisbane, Mark Wood from Melbourne and Hudson Snook from Victoria.

Here's a good excuse to go AWOL on Thursday!

The Army have been in Glen Innes for the last three weeks, helping out with the bushfire recovery.

Before they leave, they are thanking the community with a free barbecue in Anzac Park this Thursday from 12.30pm.

The 104 soldiers from 11 Engineer Regiment, 6 Engineer Support Regiment and 3 Combat Service Support Battalion set about reconnoitering Wytaliba and other fire-damaged communities, and farms.

The army brought with it a wide variety of skills, from carpenters and plumbers to electricians, plant operators, logistics and medics.

At Wytaliba, two weeks ago locals got in contact with the SES when they started running low on food. But the emergency service found the fast-running Mann river was too dangerous to cross.

West Australian soldier Lauren Brown told the Glen Innes Examiner the experience of helping people was half the reason she joined up.

"It's good to see a result from what you do, it's good to go out and make an effort with something," she said.

"You see the start and the end."

Much of the army was based in a camp at Lynch Oval during their time in Glen Innes. Other soldiers stayed at the Town Hall - with even Mayor Carol Sparks offering her office as a billet.

The soldiers were among 5850 ADF personnel Australia wide who were supporting Operation Bushfire Assist.

Thursday's barbecue in Anzac Park will be a chance to meet the army, hear about their work here, thank them, and hear about army recruitment, if you are interested.

Join the army (for food, not for deployment) and there's no need to RSVP. Just come along and enjoy.

"Camo" gear is optional, boots might be an idea if it's wet.

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