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The RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service is an essential aeromedical service in Central QLD, but they wouldn’t be able to do what they do without an army of volunteers.

RACQ CapRescue operates over a huge area, spanning 350,000 square kilometres, helping more than 300,000 people per year.

Racking up almost 30 years of operation in Queensland, the Service is funded 60 per cent through the Government and the other 40 per cent comes from the community.

More than 60 people volunteer for CapRescue assisting with everything from administrative duties like mailing and newsletters, to assisting at fundraising events, collecting donation boxes and public speaking like attending cheque presentations and emceeing at fundraising events.

Many of the volunteers give up their time simply for the joy of helping.

QATCF 8 9 Greg and Don


Some of the volunteers who support CapRescue have also experienced the support of the helicopter firsthand.

Cathy Buttenshaw was cooking for Christmas in December 1999 when she heard her son William scream.

“I heard a really loud scream and the next minute I saw him run past the front of the house on fire,” she said.

Cathy called Triple Zero and before she knew it, she was in a CapRescue helicopter on her way to Rockhampton from Yeppoon.

“When they said they were going to get the helicopter in I started to panic… I didn’t think it was that bad. The doctor incubated him because his airways were burnt and then they put him in the helicopter and took him to Rockhampton. I was flown down with him to Brisbane Royal Children Hospital where he was in an induced coma for three weeks.

“Every time I hear the helicopter go overhead, I just think ‘who are they saving?’ and I hope that person is alright.

“Our family holds high regard for the service because they saved our son,” said Cathy.

“People don’t realise until they’re rescued and until their family goes through something like this that you do realise you want to be a part of the organisation. I volunteer with my sister, my niece…my daughter and Will are a part of it too – it’s a family affair.”

Cathy and her family also saw the generosity of the community firsthand after they rallied together and raised $10,000 to go towards William’s recovery.

QATCF 8 9 Cathy


Volunteers for CapRescue are part of a team called StepUp. The StepUp CapRescue Volunteers Program is vital if the service is to remain in the air and free of charge for anyone who needs it.

As of this year there are 63 people who are a part of the StepUp program and regularly volunteer to help raise funds for CapRescue to keep it in the air and helping Queenslanders for free if they’re ever in need of it.

Greg Fox has been supporting CapRescue for three years. He believes volunteering is an essential service and the satisfaction he gets from helping is like nothing else.

“I first got into volunteering when my daughter worked here, and she told me about the program, so I thought I’d have a look and see what people do.

“We all expect a little bit of help and support at times and if we have the chance to support a program like this, I think we should all have a go at it,” said Greg.

Greg helps with the set up and pack down at open days and events like CapRescue’s colour runs.

The volunteers range in age from mums and dads to grandparents and kids.

17 year old Lucy Neaton volunteers at many of CapRescue’s events and echoed Greg’s sentiments about how it feels to volunteer for such a valuable service.

“It made me feel like I had a place in the world and that I could do something that wasn’t just for me. It was for other people, and I didn’t feel selfish doing it. I just felt like I was really doing something that was worthwhile.

“This service is important to the community because you can’t possibly cover the area required in the amount of time you have to possibly save someone’s life.

“If someone told me they couldn’t volunteer I would tell them to at least try it because you can’t say you don’t like something if you haven’t tried it,” said Lucy.

The StepUp Program is proudly supported by mining services provider Thiess who have been a part of the volunteer program for many years.

“Our Blue Sky partnership with CapRescue helps to ensure their ongoing rapid response rescue services to the local community.”

To join the CapRescue StepUp program and become a volunteer head to:
QATCF 8 9 Lucy


The StepUp Volunteers help run several events across Central Queensland from colour runs to golf days and campdrafts.

Thousands of dollars were raised at the many colour runs hosted across the region. Colour Me Capricorn Rockhampton celebrated its 5th year in 2023, raising over $13,000 from the 550 participants.

Emerald hosted its very first Colour Me Capricorn last May raising about $6,000, while the Gladstone colour run saw $14,000 raised to go to CapRescue.

Other community-run fundraisers last year included The Springsure Working Horse Campdraft, that despite the very wet conditions, raised $20,000, the RACQ CapRescue Biennial Ball raised over $50,000 for the Service and the Golf Day held at Capricorn Resort Golf Club raised over $20,000 in June.

Altogether the StepUp volunteers contributed over 1000 hours of volunteering through 2023, and they hope to contribute even more throughout 2024 to raise as much as they can for their invaluable CapRescue.

Colour Me Capricorn Rockhampton is coming up on Sunday March 24. Add some colour to your life at the most vibrant event of the year and support this vital service. To find out more about Colour me Capricorn Rockhampton or any of CapRescue’s other fundraising events head to:
QATCF 8 9 Step Up

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