To our south it's a state of disaster, to our north it's a state of emergency. Everywhere we look, it seems, we're surrounded by smoke as fires engulf large parts of Southern NSW and North East Victoria. The past week, and particularly the past couple of days, have been horrific as temperatures and winds soar to hell-like levels. I, like the rest of the Border and North East community, was distraught at news of Sam McPaul's death near Jingellic last Monday. To think that a young man, recently married and with his first child on the way, could lose his life trying to keep us safe, is heartbreaking. I'd like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all the firefighters and emergency services personnel who have dropped everything to put their communities first in recent days. We're very lucky to have you. Prime Minister Scott Morrison's leadership has come into question in recent weeks, firstly with his trip to Hawaii and then with an ill-fated media opportunity in Cobargo. Whatever your view on Mr Morrison, what's beyond dispute is that we've seen true leadership here in our region. And not necessarily just from people in positions of power, but from normal, everyday Aussies who want to offer a helping hand. Whether it's the Rotary Club of Belvoir Wodonga and the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners trucking loads of feed, Albury-Wodonga Regional Food Share co-ordinating deliveries or a fundraiser via Facebook, the list goes on and on. In hard times, we're lucky in this part of the world that people are never afraid to get their hands dirty to help out. That's true leadership. I hope wherever this email finds you, that you're safe and well. All the best for the weeks and months ahead.