Former UH punter Dane Roy raises thousands for Australia fire relief
For former Houston punter and Australia-native Dane Roy, the ravaging effects of the Australia wildfires hit close to home.
As a previous resident of the Gippsland community, a region in southeastern Australia, for over 18 years, Roy said seeing the area’s devastation was saddening.
To lend a helping hand to his former home, Roy has been working with the UH Alumni Association, the Houston Astros and local businesses to fundraise and auction off collectible UH memorabilia and other prizes. All funds raised will be split evenly between helping rehome displaced Indigenous Australians in the Gippsland area and the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.
“I know that anything can happen at the drop of a hat that could change your life and whether it’s good or bad, sometimes you just need that support there to help you when you can’t do anything,” Roy said.
Because of the destruction that faced the Houston-area after Hurricane Harvey, Roy said he feels that Houstonians are sympathetic toward communities in need, and they want to reach out and support in any way they can.
“I know there’s a few people out here already that want to help the bushfires and the recovery efforts in Australia, but they don’t really know how to,” Roy said.
After the fires began, people began to reach out to Roy wondering what they could do for the continent’s fire relief. After connecting with some citizens of his former home and discovering the volunteer efforts out of the Gippsland area, Roy decided to set up the Houston-based fundraiser.
“I just have the mentality, it’s like, if you do good things, good things will happen to you,” Roy said. “Because you never know when you actually need help yourself.”
Roy also found that displaced Indigenous Australians out of the Gippsland area weren’t seeing the amount of help they needed, which he saw as an injustice.
“That’s pretty annoying that they can’t even get anything to help them out,” Roy said. “Everyone needs help.”
For fans of UH football, six throwback jerseys from the 2018 UH vs. Temple game are up for auction from the UH Alumni Association. One jersey, a No. 74 that’s a 2XL, has surpassed $200. The group also donated a signed jersey from Washington Redskins’ Case Keenum.
UH Football donated a “football experience” to the fundraiser, and its benefits depend on how high the bid goes in the auction. The experience could include meeting the coach, attending a practice, tickets to a 2020 home game, club lounge passes, a chance to join in the Cougar Walk and pre-game sideline access.
And from the major leagues, the Astros donated an MLB baseball signed by pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. that’s reached $75 with five bidders.
“It just shows that people want to help out,” Roy said. “And I think that’s the main thing, you see people in need and say like, ‘What can I do to help out?'”
Roy said there have been some who didn’t want any of the auction items, but still wanted to donate. So, Roy set up a GoFundMe that has reached $4,480 of its $100,000 goal as of Jan. 28. The fundraiser is open until Feb. 14, and Roy will attempt to personally deliver the funds to the charities.
“Really anything, any amount, is grateful,” Roy said. “Obviously we’re not all billionaires like we want to be, but even if you’ve just got a couple of dollars to spare, or even some time so you can like help people out, not sure how, but everything really helps in the end.”