Jamie Wolf has learnt through "blood, sweat and tears" exactly what it takes to help rebuild a livelihood.
For the past nearly 10 months the Fencing For Fires founder has soldiered on with his crusade to rebuild fences for the fire-affected - one strand, one strainer post and one steep step at a time.
What began as a one-man campaign by a former soldier carrying his own mental load each day - a young man with a full-time job and a young family - has transformed into a project that has stretched from Cobargo, NSW to Gippsland, Victoria.
He has persisted in the face of a global pandemic that has, at times, overshadowed the ongoing plight of bushfire victims, he's prevailed when lockdown restrictions shrank volunteer numbers and he's pursued every avenue he can to find the funds to keep going.
In doing so, Jamie has transformed $55,000 of funding into more than $250,000 in material and labour and gathered a following of nearly 8000 followers on Facebook.
He's taken tumbles down treacherous terrain, he's lugged fencing supplies into places no other organisation will venture and he's strung up fences alongside farmers who have told him they were almost too exhausted to keep going - until Jamie drove through the gate.
Recently the man who has been nominated for an Australia Day Local Hero award has admitted to feeling frustrated at being unable to access funding support from bushfire recovery agencies to continue his work due to the way grants are set up and allocated.
"We've had to scratch and scrounge for every cent we get," explains Fencing For Fires (FFF) volunteer Denise Madsen, an Upper Murray local who has been an invaluable sounding board and support co-ordinator for the crew.
"We are the ones tackling the shit stuff nobody else wants to do.
"This (FFF) group is about getting the job done, not being seen to get the job done; it's working into the dark so a farmer can open a gate to let his cattle out for a feed the next day."
At times the frustration goes both ways, Denise explains, as many farming families wade through "red tape and hoops to get scraps".
"A lot of the people we deal with are older folk as well - what hope do they have of sifting their way through a technology-driven system (navigating emails, web pages, government departments)?
"They're lucky if they have a working phone line, frequently spotty or non-existent mobile coverage.
"Millions of dollars donated by the public for immediate relief ... not achieving what it was given for."
That's why Jamie is determined to stick it out "until we can see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel".
He's put a call-out for a massive injection of people power to support Australia's Biggest Working Bee on the weekend of September 25 and 26 at Walwa and Cudgewa.
And he has launched the GoFundMe Fencing For Fires - Future Focus campaign to continue the crusade to help fellow Aussies in need.
"We are a country that always back the underdog and we always get behind each other ... and I want to see that continue," he says.
"Some of these guys out there are doing it really tough.
"It may not be about materials, it may not be about labour; it's just a huge job that they can't their heads around right now and if they have got their heads around it they've worked their arses off for the last 10 months."
Jamie does not want to take money from victims of Australia's biggest natural disaster.
The feedback he has received is that individuals can apply for grants and then pass money onto FFF "but I'm completely against that".
"That (grant) money is not only for fencing but the rest of their lives - their livelihoods, their houses, their sheds, their machinery, their stock - all these little things you don't think about," he says.
'We are still seeing people living in caravans.
"Some grants might buy you a week's rent or a month's rent but then you are back to square one."
Jamie is very grateful for money that has been donated to FFS, which helps buy materials.
People power does the rest.
The value of a smiling face and pair of helping hands arriving at the front gate can never be measured.
"Some of the people we've helped have put back into FFF because they know how much we've saved them - not only from a financial point of view but from a mental point of view," Jamie says.
"Many hands make light work and I've never seen that more prevalent than in fence building."
- For information go to the Fencing for Fires Facebook page or visit www.fencingforfires.com.au
- To donate go to https://au.gofundme.com/f/fencing-for-fires-future-focus