Beyond the call of duty

“Where workers were cut off in Gracemere, people did what was required, not what was in their service agreements. They talked to the department and delivered service in whatever way they could. That was true for a lot of organizations.”

“I think someone was talking before about how it didn’t matter how well planned things are, the character of human beings is that when the chips are down you do respond. That certainly happened here… there were not many services who did not deliver over and beyond their normal service contracts. Regardless of where their staff were or whatever…crisis precipitating change but not sustaining it.”

“That happened across the board with non-government and government services. They did what needed to be done.”

Community Leadership

“My daughter was diagnosed with autism at three, Aspergers/autism at the time, by a GP and numerous other professionals. She then developed epilepsy and fibromatosis and it ignited my passion and panic because there was no doctor, my pediatrician knew very little, and he sent me to Brisbane for assessment, and I thought, what am I supposed to do, no one knows anything about it. I started researching and found lots of other families in the area. My pediatrician started referring people to me because I knew the most. Set up some support groups which didn’t work so well, but that is why I set up youth consumer advisory group. At the time in mental health they had the CAG groups, because of the lack of trained professionals here, we had to go to CYMHs for support, so we got together and started YCAG. Part of that was that we needed information and we needed to educate every part of the community including the doctors. My pediatrician was with me, and I did a lot of catering, I had the director of Queensland Health, Department of Communities on board, and as I was delivering catering, I would say, can you give me $1,000 to go towards this… etc. I had a track record of advocating, they knew me. The other thing I did was a sibling carer camp. I got $1,000 from each department for sibling and carers. They are big sufferers in families and there is nothing for them. My doctor gave me credibility to put on a dinner for the doctors, they all came, as did the head nurses, and pediatrician, we fed them. Tony Attwood did a special presentation at doctor level, then I did a teacher one, and coupled that with tony for the education system. They had bad attitudes in Education, and they made it mandatory for teachers to attend. I also got Steven Moore to do a medication one so that teachers and parents understood medication. Then we did one for carers and then actual kids and young teens. Then we put it on again through YCAG…500 attended one out at the university, then the Uni got onboard and we did another one.”

“That’s fantastic because when we moved up here, 4 and a half years ago, where we came from, my son was named as following other boys, he was introverted, and had tics etc… he was very anxious, no one understood or wanted to take it further, when we come here, the school jumped onto it, it was the teachers who recognised it, and followed through, got him a referral to a pediatrician and now his life has just come through so much now. Thank you so much”

Faith and Values

“Another perspective, in the generation I was brought up in, one of the most important faiths engendered in me by my parents was a faith in myself, and a capacity to deal with whatever was brought before me…to build skills and experience to deal with things. You will make mistakes but get over it and move on. I think that builds resilience in people. Nothing about a cultural belief or formal religion, but the way your parents brought you up. If you believe in yourself you are more self reliant.”

“Some of that faith element or spirituality is a counter balance to consumerism in society… because we do… the idea that possession… I define myself by what I own, my big house, flat screen TV, big car… whatever it might be, boat …and when all that goes because of the disaster, what are you left with? The faith is something that you can carry with you regardless of what…faith in self or faith in something bigger than you are…”


“I found a couple of the grocery stores, out of Gracemere, don’t normally run into accounts, they were quite happy to do that over the phone, for us to pay the account when it was finished. They didn’t require credentials checked etc, did it over the phone, they were substantial amounts, over 2-3 thousand dollars. They didn’t have to set that up. Chemists were also good in being flexible for sorting things out from the usual way of doing business…comes back to cooperation between local business and people stepping up and playing a role, recognition that everyone has a role to play and you can do different things depending on what is required”