Editorial September 22

Community spirit is still alive and well.

It’s wonderful to see.

The Illawarra community has wrapped its arms around the Balzan family after an electrical fire completely destroyed their Figtree family home last week.

The lowest of times often brings out the greatest side of the human spirit.

The Balzan family described finding their home a charred mess was the “worst day of their lives”.

Since then the community has responded, particularly firefighter John Balzan’s workmates from the Unanderra Fire Station.

‘’It was heartbreaking but the support since has been tremendous, particularly from the Unanderra Fire and Rescue crew’’ Mr Balzan said.

‘’Everything that they’ve got, they have given to us ... their homes, their food and even their clothes.

‘’We don’t have family nearby so the crew at Unanderra are my family. Without them we'd be lost, wandering the streets, sleeping in our car or pitching a tent if we could get one.’’

But not just the people Mr Balzan calls his “brothers in arms”, others have jumped on board to help the family of six.

Dmarto’s in Unanderra, Surfpit Corrimal, Figtree Public School and Second Life Stationery have also pitched in.

A faulty air conditioner was believed to have caused the fire in the rented property and the family did not have content insurance.

The family certainly don’t need the trolls on social media to remind them of the impact of that situation.

OUR BLOKE WINS AWARD

There are good blokes and there are good blokes.

Clearly Shane Wicks is a good bloke.

Congratulation to Mr Wicks, of Gerringong, who has been named the NSW Public School Parent of the Year.

He was presented with his award during the Public Education Foundation Awards for Educational Excellence ceremony at New South Wales Parliament House. 

The father of three is a long-term volunteer and is current president Gerringong Public Schools P&C – the school he attended as a child. How good is that?

Member for Kiama Gareth Ward paid tribute to Mr Wicks’ contribution to his local community, which also involves volunteering with the local surf club and the Rural Fire Service.

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