Mum leads by example
LOOTING and flooding weren’t enought to stop Michelle Watson from helping others during a time of crisis.
Michelle and her family live on Park Ave, which she said was notorious for flooding, and were evacuated to the Town Hall during the recent flood event.
While Michelle and her children were at the evacuation centre, their home was ransacked on the second day after the floods hit.
“We were at the evacuation centre when the police came and told me I had been robbed,” she said.
“(The offenders) took a lot of my daughter’s stuff.”
It was a case of bittersweet news for the family, however.
“I was relieved in some way as the SES told me the night before my house would have 1.2metres of water through it. Then the police came the next day and told me I had been robbed but had no water in it,” she said.
Despite receiving the news about her house being ransacked, Michelle soldiered on, volunteering to clean the toilets at the evacuation centre.
Evacuation staff said, due to the large amount of people staying at the Town Hall, the bathrooms were constantly dirty with some people complaining but no-one offering to help until Michelle put her hand up.
“I asked if they needed any help and they said they needed help cleaning the toilets,” Michelle said.
“I am a cleaner at the hospital so I know what needs to be done.
“I cleaned the toilets, showers and linen.
“I had three ladies help me out over the time - they were a great help.
“I cleaned them four to three times a day, they were really bad as there was so many people.
“I just wanted to help out and this was something I could do.
“I believe you’ve got to set an example. My kids had a good time despite the circumstances.
“They all made friends and enjoyed it and my little Michael helped me a bit.”
Not one to take all the praise, Michelle commended the efforts of the Red Cross and Lifeline volunteers.
“I think they’re amazing,” she said.
“To me it’s easy to step in and clean but to commit on a fulltime basis to helping is amazing.”