Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

'A generous soul'

Shepparton business owner Azem Elmaz has put his business Luftiye's on hold and headed out to Violet Town to volunteer his time and considerable skills cooking meals for the firefighters battling the blaze in the area.

JOHN LEWIS February 1, 2013 4:57am

Azem Elmaz and other volunteers such as Dot Rae (pictured centre) have been busy cooking meals for firefighters at Violet Town.

‘‘All you wanna do is ride around Sally — ride Sally, ride.’’

The words of Wilson Picket’s hit song drift across Violet Town’s footy field buoyed by the aromas of roast potatoes, chickpeas, chicken biriani with pumpkin and eggplant.

In any other town it might be just good fun — in Violet Town it is the essence of community spirit and the birth of a new town legend.

Inside the tiny footy clubroom’s kitchens, a group of women and men are packing plastic containers with freshly-cooked meals for hungry firefighters.

The locals sing as they pack, and they laugh as they are told to pack faster by Shepparton blow-in Azem Elmaz.

Mr Elmaz arrived on Sunday and didn’t sleep for 48 hours while he fired up the outdoor barbecue and taught Violet Town people how to cater for up to 300 people four times a day.

His first proper rest came on Wednesday night when he bedded down — in the footy clubroom.

Violet Town’s Ronny Kirkpatrick said Mr Elmaz’s arrival had galvanised the small team of volunteers into action.

‘‘He’s fantastic. We don’t know where we would have started — we’ve catered before, but not for this amount of people,’’ Mrs Kirkpatrick said. ‘‘He’s brought everything. We would have been lost without him.’’

For more about Mr Elmaz’s efforts to cater for firefighters, pick up a copy of today’s Shepparton News.

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