Gratitude Day

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Gratitude Day is an opportunity for our community to be empowered, reflect and connect with the many diverse agencies, organisations and groups that assist us in our region. FOCUS had a chat with David (Laarz) Laarhoven to find out more about what we can expect on the day…

What is “Gratitude Day”?

Alongside our diverse community’s Emergency Services we will be presenting to the greater community a holistic and collaborative event with views to make it an annual open day for all services some which just aren’t that accessible or work away in the background to keep our community safe. The day is designed and built in conjunction with crews in mind to celebrate, display and offer tactile, evocative and sensory connection to the services, building community awareness and resilience.

What inspired you to create an inclusive event such as Gratitude Day?

The region’s emergency services units are very important to our community and in times of need, we rely on their individual and collaborative merits to be supported, to recover and to continue on with our lives when chaotic or tumultuous events occur.

As the region, our nation and the world becomes more connected with various forms of media, we are exposed to unconventional, dramatic events, and people need to know that there is assistance available, how to contact them, what you can do to help yourself, your family or the community; it is comforting and refreshing.

When we have an open day at Fire & Rescue, I am always so overwhelmed at the great number of people who come through our station, their interest in the appliances, tools, the job, and questions they ask. I thought, what better way to have the community rewarded with knowledge than to talk to my fellow emergency services personnel and have them band together and share our holistic and collaborative merits at a community open day.

What types of activities and offerings will be there on the day?

The day, Sunday 12th November, will consist of information stalls, and static and dynamic displays complementary to the numerous services/organisations. You will be enthralled at the latest response equipment in action. Get up close to flood, surf and other rescue boats, fire trucks, including the behemoth Aviation Fire & Rescue rig from the airport, police patrol and response vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, ambulance, first-aid and other high-tech disaster response equipment. We are even holding out for the Aeromedical Heli Rescue service to make an appearance.

You can learn about how you can best prepare and plan for disasters to improve your resilience and that of your neighbours and communities. There will be volunteer opportunities, kids’ activities, giveaways, height safety demonstrations, kitchen fire simulators, Hazardous Material unit, lots of stalls and more!

Where is Gratitude Day being held, and who is assisting you on the day?

Gratitude Day will be showcasing the purpose built entertainment/ event/display site that is at the jewel in our crown, The Coffs Harbour Jetty Foreshore, adjacent to the purpose built market site identified by the community as a priority in the future design and remodelling of the foreshore precinct.

We chose this site and to work with Coffs Harbour City Council and Kim Towner from the very popular Harbourside Markets, as every Sunday crowds flock to the stalls and space. People are there to be entertained, relax and feel empowered by the philosophy surrounding the locally produced products and services encapsulated in the successful markets, now in their tenth year. The community certainly has embraced Kim’s fortitude to halt imports and focus on building and encouraging start up business, strengthening our economic development through the markets.

What is the biggest and best thing about this day for you, Laarz?

Every day I turn out at NSW Fire & Rescue on the job, my emergency services colleagues and I are faced with challenging and diverse situations that the other persons involved in the incident or accident did not choose to be in. Accidents happen – life happens – and throughout everyone’s lives they are faced with daunting, shocking and memorable experiences that with knowledge, consideration, compassion and support we can and will recover and rebuild. To have the chance to share our information and skillsets across a broader audience will give our community the edge to overcome adversity and stress caused by unfortunate events. I hope after this inaugural event to offer an annual day to more regional agencies and organisations that support our region.

What is the cost to enter the event and receive all this vital information?

The event is absolutely FREE to enter, open to all ages, and the event space is flat and accessible to move around and enjoy. The take home knowledge is endless, and it’s well worth extending the invitation to the whole family and friends to join in, giving them the best chance to understand the qualities of each of the region’s services and perhaps see how they can be a part.

How do people find out more about Gratitude Day?

They can go to the Gratitude Day Facebook page. If the answer is not there, they can drop me a message.

Thanks David.


When Sunday 12th November.
Where The Jetty Foreshore.

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