Operation Firestorm.

Operation FireStorm

There are three types of people in the world – those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.

By far the rarest, and generally the most successful, are those who fit into the former category. These are people who get things done and when things get tough, these are the people who really get going.

Barry Holland is someone who makes things happen.

Raised in Durban and a product of the old Northlands High, he forged a successful career in the printing industry and other endeavors in the Big Smoke and, along the way, wrote himself into the pages of Comrades Marathon history. Barry is one of only two people in history who have run what is generally considered the toughest marathon in the world forty five times consecutively…and he shows no sign of quitting anytime soon!

Barry and his wife, Debbie, moved to the Ballito area a few years ago when their youngest son, Ross, was enrolled at Kearsney College and, he turned his attention to property development and Race Organisation. He is the driving force behind the Deloitte Challenge and the KPMG Relay as well as a new race planned for 2018 – the Liberty 250, a three day cycle challenge in the Ballito area.

He has also devoted his attention to the reorganisation of the Dolphin Coast Striders, the local running club that has seen exciting growth and re organisation to become a force to be reckoned with.

But it was on a road trip back from Johannesburg that Barry was inspired by an interview with Dr Imtiaz Sooliman from The Gift of the Givers. In response to the wildfires that devastated Knysna and large tracts of the Southern Cape this organisation was calling for donations to help rebuild vital infrastructure in the region.

One of the Members of the Dolphin Coast Striders, Jocelyn Fawcett, had lost a cousin, volunteer firefighter, Bradley Richards, in the tragedy and Barry saw the opportunity to honour him and to make a contribution from the North Coast towards the work of the Gift of the Givers in this regard.

In collaboration with Mike Charles, Station Manager of Radio Life & Style 88.0FM, he created Operation Firestorm.
Working through the online crowdfunding platform Givengain.com they linked up with the Gift of the Givers fundraising account and devoted twelve hours on radio to the task of raising money through the greater Ballito community for the cause.

The target was R100 000 but due to the enormous support and generosity of local businesses and individuals, many of who had already donated food, clothes and other essentials to charities calling on them for help, that target was rapidly exceeded.

Operation Firestorm eventually contributed R226 180.00 to the Gift of the Givers relief operation and will no doubt make a difference where it’s needed most.


“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

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