EMERALD Pastor Ron Anning could have been forgiven for thinking “Dear Lord, why me?”
Instead, after one phone call that told him he would receive no insurance for his flood-ruined house, possessions and rental property, he put his faith in God and remained positive.
“The thing we chose to do and the best way to stay positive was to do something positive for someone else,” he said.
“We knew our house and rental were going under, the council was organised and able to predict a flood-height within 50mm.
“From the 2008 levels, we knew water was going to go through our house and rental house and through my daughter’s and son’s house.
“I wasn’t going to become a flood victim but someone who was affected by the flood.”
Pastor Ron is an Emerald nominee for the Queensland Disaster Heroes program, for his work in the community throughout the January floods.
He spent countless hours in the foyer of the Central Highlands Regional Council office giving out evacuation information.
“I was based at the front door to the council office and there was a constant trip of people through the door with all sorts of emotions,” he said.
“Angry that this could be allowed to happen, fearful of the outcome and emotional at the potential loss.
“I was based there most of the time, taking charge of that and getting people on side. I also helped organise the combined church service in the Catholic church.”
In addition to those duties, Pastor Ron spent his time volunteering for the Red Cross, doing pastoral work at the Emerald Town Hall evacuation centre and in telecommunications with the evacuation centre at Harvest Life Christian Church, where he is pastor.
Now six months on from the floods, Pastor Ron and his wife Mary are two weeks away from moving back into their home.
“It has taken a total of three months of working in my spare time, days off and at night to fix my house,” he said.
“I fixed my house enough to live in while I was working on the rental and once I finished that, I moved out and have been fixing my own house since the first week of March.
“I chose not to do both at the same time as it takes a long time and we set ourselves to maintain a positive stance, regardless of how long things took.”
To celebrate moving back in to their home, Pastor Ron and Mary have been making a list of people who have helped them, to invite over.
“I am astounded by the generosity of how people have helped us, the community spirit is still alive,” he said.
Community spirit and its heroes who pulled together in times of devastation will be celebrated as Queensland Week starts tomorrow.
Premier Anna Bligh is expected to be in Emerald on Tuesday at the award ceremony held in the town hall, starting from 6.30pm.
“A highlight of this year’s Queensland Week will be the presentation of medals to honourees of the Queensland Disaster program,” she said.
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