Since they began burning back in September, the Australian bushfires have continuously been making headlines with all the devastation they’ve caused – both to people and the 1 million wild animals they’ve killed. But one man’s story from the fires is particularly heartbreaking, particularly since Ash Graham refuses to give up despite all that has happened to him.
Ash lives in Nerrigundah, New South Wales, which is one of the areas most devastated by the fires. Two-thirds of the houses in Ash’s small town have been eradicated by fires, which means that two-thirds of the population have been left with absolutely nothing but piles of dust and rubble.
Ash is no stranger to tragedy, as he lost his wife, Melanie, to cancer a year ago. Ash had quit his job as a roofer six years ago in order to care for her when she became sick. Even while being her caretaker, Ash still managed to find time to give back to his community as a volunteer firefighter.
The day that the wildfires came burning, Ash fled to the firehouse and took his 3-year-old dog, Kozi, with him. He left Kozie at the firehouse because he knew he’d be safe there and then went off to help evacuate his community from the path of the flames.
Sadly, when Ash returned to the firehouse, Kozi was gone. People had seen him flee from the building, scared off by the approaching fires, but people were unable to stop Kozi before he got away. As you can imagine, Ash was crushed at the realization that his best friend was out there – but he has refused to give up the search for Kozi.
Ash tearfully said to Unilad.co.uk, “He was the only thing I was left with when my wife passed away, so, yeah, he’s my best mate. He’s my motivation, he gets me out of bed of a morning on my down days. I’m just hoping that he was faster than Armageddon. Maybe I just haven’t walked that extra hundred meters, maybe I’ve just over-glanced an area and there were a couple of houses I hadn’t looked under.”
Ash is currently sleeping in a tent until he can rebuild the home that he shared with his wife – a home that was full of love and memories. And the only thing that Ash cares about right now is finding Kozi. However, people in his community have set up a GoFundMe in his name. If you’re interested in supporting Ash’s recovery, please click here.