Western Union; Western Union Foundation respond to Australia bush fires, recognize employee volunteer firefighter’s efforts

Giving By Margaret Fogarty January 27, 2020

Western Union and the Western Union Foundation have announced more than USD $110,000 in aid to the Australian Red Cross to support their efforts to fight the Australia bush fires. Additional fundraising efforts are being organized by Western Union employees and agents in communities around the globe, including Western Union Agent Direct Flights International – Australia. All donations to the Western Union Foundation made through the U.S. Western Union mobile app between Jan. 16 – Feb. 29, 2020 will be directed to the Australian Red Cross.

According to the BBC, at least 25 people have died and thousands have been made homeless since September 2019. To date, more than 6.3 million hectares (63,000 sq km or 15.6 million acres) have been burned so far – one hectare is roughly the size of a sports field.

Australia Firefighters

Photo credit Sam Ruttyn – News Corp Australia Pictured above, on the left, is Western Union employee James Daly.

“The size and scale of these fires in many parts of Australia is unprecedented, but so is the incredible wave of support we’ve seen from people and businesses around the country and overseas,” said Belinda Dimovski, Head of Engagement and Support at Australian Red Cross.

The aid package will support the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund, which is raising funds to help Red Cross emergency teams continue to respond to the devastating fires by staffing evacuation centers, locating missing loved ones, providing emergency grants to those who have lost their homes and training first responders.

Boots on the Ground
One Sydney-based Western Union employee has been recognized by his colleagues and Western Union leadership for his service as volunteer firefighter in New South Wales. “This is my colleague James Daly. James has worked tirelessly over the last few months, stepping out from behind his desk and stepping up to defend and protect our beautiful country. We are so proud of James, and grateful for people like him. I wouldn’t want to imagine where Australia would be without them,” reads a social media post from his colleague from Western Union Business Solutions, Tanya Anker.

“It is heartening to see employees take action to fight the fires in Australia, and we are so proud to stand behind Mr. Daly for serving on the ground to combat the devastating fires. Thank you for being a hero in our Western Union community,” offered Western Union CEO, Hikmet Ersek.

Australia Firefighter

Photo credit Sam Ruttyn – News Corp Australia

For anyone interested in supporting the relief efforts from abroad, Daly recommends supporting the economies of the bushfire affected areas. Like much of Australia, many of the affected towns rely on tourism and they’re really struggling with the current lack of visitors. Buying goods from the local shops and wineries on the New South Wales South Coast, staying in the local hotels, eating at the local restaurants and visiting the towns are a few ways to let them know that they are supported and won’t be forgotten.

“I’ve been incredibly humbled by the support I’ve received from both Western Union and my amazing colleagues over the last few months,” said Daly. “Unfortunately, having a supportive employer isn’t the norm amongst my firefighting family so I’d love to see more employers follow the example set by industry leaders like WU.”

The Western Union Foundation provides funds to nonprofits supporting urgent relief and recovery missions for people in crisis in alignment with Western Union, which is positioned to support aid efforts because of its global presence and ability to make cash accessible for those in need. Learn more about the Western Union Foundation’s 2019 disaster relief efforts here.