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"I would rather attempt something great and fail. Than to do nothing at all and succeed"

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Well a very overdue blog entry to update you all on our busy past couple of months.  

One small difference - this blogs coming from myself Sarah and not Rob.   He's off looking at a the cattle that were trucked into town yesterday with his brother Cam so I thought I'd get in while the kids were at inschool.  Ahh peace a quiet...what to do! 

I've included a few photos to show some of the amazing people we have met in our travels and I have also included a few pics of Rob speaking. 

Firstly I must add....I think I am his biggest fan!  People ask, does Rob have down days but I can honestly say no, he doesn't.  He's a very positive person and his ability to get on with life always blows me away.  He hasn't slowed down and he keeps striving for the next challenge.  

My Inspiration - My Husband
NT Local Hero Australia Day Awards
Since returning from the States Rob was awarded the NT Local Hero Australia Day Award.  After receiving this we went to Canberra to celebrate the Australia Day National Awards and although he did not win, we met some amazing people who have been doing selfless acts of kindness for many years.  People who have dedicated their time and energy to support others in need and often at their own personal expense and emotional well being.  Like most Heroes though all were humbled and overwhelmed to be included as nominees.  Much like Rob!  To be included amongst such amazing people was at times overwhelming and even surreal.  

Spending the afternoon at the Governor General's house while discussing Territory life with Geoffrey Rush and having morning tea at the Lodge with the Prime Minister while discussing billy tea verses decafe tea with Judith Durhann and listening to Spider Bait while talking books with Bryce Courtney - all were moments that will be etched in my memory but the stories of all the award nominees will leave a deeper mark on me. 

Australia Day Chairman Adam Gilchrist

Rob and I have had the choice to sink or swim.  Gladly we both spent plenty of time in the pool doing laps and swimming was an easy option! However our choice came about because we had no option.  Rob had an accident which we couldn't walk away from.  Others like the National Local Hero 2012 winner Lynne Sawyers a foster mother who has fostered more than 200 children and Donald Ritchie, 2011 Local Hero, who prevented a countless number of people from committing suicide had a choice.  They could have turned a blind eye but instead they took the time to offer a friendly face and kind words and dedicate their life to making somebody elses life worthwhile. 

2011 Australia Day Local Hero Don Ritchie and his wife Moya
Thinking about this reminds me that one simple act of kindness could make the world of difference to somebody elses day or life.  Whether it is letting the mother with the screaming baby cut in line before you or simply smiling at the old man sitting by himself at the cafe.  One thing I have come to learn is we all carry our own burdens and if I can help just one person a week and ease their burden through one simple gesture, then I have achieved something.       

It was a great pleasure meeting Judith Durham
(Australian of the year 1967)
at the Australia Day Awards in Canberra

Australia Day Nominees 2012 with the
Governor General Ms Quentin Bryce

With the Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Rob was also awarded the Pride of Australia NT Courage Medal while we were in America and then after arriving home last year he was awarded the National Courage Medal in Sydney. 

The Pride of Australia National Medal Recipients 2011
Sitting amongst tv personalities and sporting personalities was also a surreal moment.  I must say though the people who were on stage winning the awards definitely stole the show.  Stars stepped out to show their support and respect for the nominees and although probably not aware, they made a huge difference to our lives.  The fact that they had taken time to support such a worthy award ceremony and chat to 'us every day Aussies' was very humbling.   

Rob with cousin Luke and Geoff Huegill who presented
Rob with his Courage Medal

Being nominated for all these awards has given us so much strength and knowing that somebody out there thinks Rob is 'something special' and unique is a great honour.  The support we have recieved around Australia has played such an enormous role in both of our recovery. 

So now the awards sit on our mantle piece beside the kid's framed Principal Awards and the kids proudly show them off to any visitor who happens to stop by. 

However, Rob's efforts don't stop their. After completing the Tanami journey and the Nuffield scholarship we have both identified a greater need. A need to help injured farmers return to the farm and get back to the work and the lifestyle they love and have worked hard to achieve. AND So our next challenge begins.

Should I say stay tuned now?!!  No, not before I finish bringing you all up to speed with our travels to date.

We have had the good fortune of being asked to speak at many events to share Rob's story and provide some inspiration and encouragement to those listening.  
Rob with Troy Dunn and the Certificate III Graduates
RITE (Rural Training & Employment)

Speaking at the ICPA conference in Alice Springs

Rob may sound like a seasoned speaker, maybe from his very short stint rodeo announcing but when it comes to sharing his story and preparing before hand he always has the same question. What am I going to talk about? To which I always reply, just tell your story, they will have heard about cattle from a previous speaker! He steps onto the stage though, only armed with mental notes and a power point to paint the picture, and manages to pull it off! When we reflect on how the presentation went and whether my power point matched his discussion or if it flowed like previous talks, we always come back to the same thought...

...If one person listening can walk away with a spring in their step and another climb out of the rut they have fallen into then we have achieved something. Maybe down the track somebody listening may be sitting on the fence facing the toughest challenge they never thought possible and just maybe they will reflect on Rob's story and think well if he can do it then so can I.
Rob and I spent the week at Beef Week in Rockhampton

Take care, Sarah x

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Don Ritchie's wife Moya and his family.  While writing this blog I discovered that he had passed away the day before.  Although we only met this couple briefly, they touched our lives, along with the many they both managed to save through their generosity and compassion. 

Vale Don Ritchie: the angel of the gap - ABC Sydney - Australian Broadcasting Corporation