By Paul Dobbyn
ORANGE Sky Laundry’s Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi had reached 80 washloads and counting, four days after Cyclone Marcia devastated the Rockhampton/Yeppoon region.
The pair had been putting in up to 15-hour days in their voluntary support of households left without power and sometimes water, reaching Marmor, south of Rockhampton, on the morning of Tuesday, February 24.
Mr Patchett said the gratitude of those they helped had been “uplifting”.
“One lady, who had a toddler and was pregnant with another child, became quite emotional as she told her story,” he said.
“She, her husband and her child had hidden under a staircase as their house was badly damaged and had its roof ripped off.
“All their clothes were wet and their towels were muddy from trying to mop up the mess.”
Mates from their days at St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace, Mr Marchesi and Mr Patchett founded Orange Sky Laundry in Brisbane as the world’s first mobile service for the homeless late last year.
The custom-fitted van has been servicing parks and drop-in centres across Brisbane and the wider area and Cairns with its two industrial washers and dryers.
It was the service’s first visit to a region affected by a natural disaster.
Orange Sky wants to expand its services Australia-wide by the end of 2015.
“The trip north to help people after Cyclone Marcia has also been a great opportunity to fine-tune our service,” Mr Patchett said.