As the year draws to a close the Lithgow Mercury reached out to Darryl Goodwin, a person who plays a key role in the Lithgow Community. Darryl shared what his 2020 looked like through his eyes.
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Reflecting back on the last 12 months makes my head spin at times, where has it gone?
Waking up this time last year it was difficult to see the neighbours across the street as thick smoke covered the half of the state.
As a retained firefighter, I along with all of my other firefighting brethren were on high alert waiting in anticipation for the fires that were inevitably going to impact our pristine countryside.
As we all know it swallowed our little part of the world up with ferocious devastation.
I personally witnessed firefighters from all areas standing in between people's homes with a hose putting their lives at risk for the community.
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Feelings that I remember at this time started with anticipation, focus, urgency, followed by exhaustion, accomplishment and mateship then empathy sorrow and sadness. In the end the overarching feeling through out the entire emergency was pride.
This town stepped up. I know it did as I was in the thick of it day in day out.
During my regular job as a police Sergeant my policing colleagues were on the front line as well doing an array of jobs from running command posts, evacuating people, blocking roads, comforting people and assisting where they could.
I was also heavily involved at the evacuation centre and I saw the wonderful staff at the Lithgow Workies Club welcome people in, provide food, shelter and support. This was proudly mentioned in federal parliament last week by Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee.
I was also lucky enough to be a part of our amazing council who were there for people on the front line, but were always in the background before, during and after the fire emergency.
They assisted in the housing of displaced stock and animals, provided invaluable guidance and support for locals and staff and were leaders in obtaining military support for the removal of dangerous trees and so much more.
Following this disaster February saw bittersweet floods. With no vegetation left on the ground the emergency turned to mud slides and road blocks. In an instant our emergency services turned from fighting fires to flood assistance.
With seemingly no break the COVID-19 pandemic set in.
The world shut down in an instant.
My role changed from fire emergency, flood emergency now to COVID emergency.
At a time when we all needed a hug, helping hand, friends and family I was sending my team into the community to ensure social distancing and to stop fights in shopping centres [from panic buying] and do house checks on people in lockdown.
I was in a gut wrenching meeting with all staff from the Workies Club informing them that the club was going to close and the future of the club at that point was unknown. The Council closed its doors. Business all over town closed.
I was then sent to the Victorian boarder to assist in the States lockdown. COVID saw Zoom meetings and online chat rooms become the norm. Unfortunately with lockdown, came the inevitable rise in domestic violence.
Back to Council, with the retirement of Council's general manager Graeme Faulkner, Council had to seek and choose a new GM to take the reins. Craig Buttler was chosen from a pool of worthy applicants.
Business wise, Green Spot became the new owners of the Wallerawang Power Station with big things planned in the near future.
Fast forward and the Workies Club has reopened and due to good governance and leadership should continue to be a major business in the community well into the future.
There is so much more that has happened in our little part of the world over the last year but I am proud to say our community is very unique and special and we are in good hands because of each and every one you.
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