It has been a week of heartbreak and hope for North Queensland, with the natural disaster bringing out the best in our community and the mateship that says "we're in this together".
The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have seen and experienced first-hand the devastating impact of the floods on Townsville and surrounding areas, with some players and staff displaced from their homes, others affected through friends and family, and all eager to help those in need and lift spirits where they can.
Players John Asiata, Scott Bolton and Gavin Cooper, along with ex-Cowboy Antonio Winterstein, will always remember the scenes in Idalia on Monday, where they rescued stranded locals by boat.
As the recovery effort moved to clean-up, players banded together to help their own on Thursday, visiting the devastated homes of their teammates and club staff to add some muscle-power to restoring a small sense of 'normal' to the lives affected.
With floodwater health warnings ever-present, the players swapped their tools for community visits on Friday to the Heatley evacuation centre and Community Recovery Hubs in Townsville City, Townsville Stadium, Mt Louisa and at 1300SMILES Stadium in Kirwan.
Armed with club and NRL merchandise, the players teamed up with Charlie Company 1 RAR to bring some Cowboys sunshine and McDonald's cheeseburgers (thanks to local McDonald’s franchisees Paul Rissman, Janelle Doyle and Allison Wood) to North Queenslanders doing it tough.
Over at the Recovery Hub at the stadium, players manned the barbecues for an energy boost for volunteers and visitors, with the Cowboys Leagues Club (sausages and bread) and M&J Chickens (chicken) showing their community spirit with food donations.
Cowboys Acting CEO Jeff Reibel summed up the feeling within the club.
"Today has been the culmination of a big week for our region. I can't tell you how proud I am of our club, our staff and our players," Reibel said.
"We're proud to be part of this community and know there are many unsung heroes and helpers out there working hard to get us back up and running.
"Thank you to all of the emergency service personnel, our friends in Defence, volunteers and neighbours for being there for all of us."