I often wonder as I sit in the dark of our Mount Maunganui dawn service listening to the waves fold gently upon each other whether I would have thrown myself into the water like those landing in Gallipoli or Normandy.
Whether I would have driven on into the desert valleys of the Middle East and North Africa or slashed through impenetrable jungles of Asia. In my bravest moments I tell myself I would have and so would my friends, but if I am honest I find their bravery and courage daunting beyond measure. I am particularly moved by the humility of our service men and women.
To those who think that the greatest (WW2) generation can’t be replicated, I can give you confidence that our current service women and men are exemplary. In 2017 I was very privileged to travel to Iraq and meet those serving in that hostile part of the world. I was struck by how young they were, how professional and diverse and comfortable in their skin. They truly were inspirational.
I find the many forms of service a profoundly inspiring part of this job. As Member of Parliament for Bay of Plenty I meet so many locals who serve their community with humility and consistency, never seeking recognition, other than simply lending a hand to someone or some people who need support.
It is always risky to call out individuals but I have four names I want to acknowledge:
- Bryce McFall and Amanda Lowry whose work with our disabled athletes to help them be the best they can be is just stunning.
- Andrew Hitchfield and Jim Pearson, from Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club who have worked for years and years to get our new surf club built.
These four will immediately say they are part of a much wider team, which of course is true, but someone has to lead, someone has to serve, and in these four we have great community examples.
We live in a remarkable community at a profoundly challenging time. I believe a way through the next few years is for those of us who can, spend just that extra bit more helping out our neighbour – great things happen when extraordinary people allow themselves to be truly themselves.
I look forward to seeing you out and about.
Read my newsletter as a PDF here or click the thumbnails below.
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