A WAGGA cultural group has handed over a generous donation to a local fire brigade through tireless fundraising following the Black Summer Bushfires.
The Filipino and Chilean Cultural Dance Group donated the $1000 cheque last Sunday to the Ladysmith Rural Fire Brigade.
Bebina Curtis, who runs the dance group, said the idea to fundraise came about in one of the fire season's darkest days.
"I woke up one morning during the bushfires, and it was just black outside, the sky was orange and there was barely any air to breathe," she said.
"The first thought I had was, 'This is the end of the world'."
Ms Curtis said the devastation broadcast at the time drove her to tears.
"I looked at the television and saw people losing their houses, the firefighters on the front line - I was in tears and I knew there was something I could do," she said.
Desperate to help, Ms Curtis began sending out emails to friends and family across the country from Queensland to Melbourne and here in Wagga, asking for donations.
"I never expected I could raise that much, but I also have the musician of our group Patrick Geaghan to thank because he sent out the email to his musician friends all over Australia," she said.
One hundred per cent of the donations went to the Ladysmith brigade, and the station's secretary Steve Howe said they were lost for words.
"We really appreciate that they've come together to help us out and it just goes to show there's no barriers or boundaries between everyone here in Australia, we are one big community, it's so lovely to have that support," he said.
"A donation like this helps us improve our safety, it means we can get more portable radios to communicate at the front line, we can get better navigation equipment, it just makes our jobs easier and safer."
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Mr Howe said the group's generosity inspired the brigade to give back, too.
"As a brigade, we are looking at purchasing a community defibrillator to have at the community shed, so if it is ever needed and an ambulance is too far away, they can go there and get that," he said.
Ms Curtis said the donation gave her just as much joy as it did the firefighters.
"I am really proud of myself and my group and my community, it's rewarding to know we are able to help and give back to those that helped us so much," she said.