My number one supporter was there on the night, my 85 year old father Alan, who along with my late mum Eileen, unwaveringly picked up the pieces with each shattering blow, both physical and mental, that I encountered on my long journey after the shooting.
One of the themes throughout the keynote was what can come from helping people out of the sheer kindness of your heart, which Lifeline epitomises with its over 11,000 volunteers.
I role played the shooting and a number of key turning points during the 45 minute talk. Two very dear friends were present in the audience that night, Joel Palmer and Michael Alafaci, who had stepped up to help me when they saw an opportunity to assist. I was able to share Joel’s and Mike’s stories of support and the ripple effect of their pure acts of kindness.Joel owns a financial asset management business, Palmer Portfolios. He knew that I was speaking within the police and had a powerful story, but was a diamond in the rough when it came to presenting. He did not say anything to me, but he had an idea. At the opening celebration of a new business venture in 2014 he made a specific point of walking me over and introducing me to one of his friends and business associates. He said, ‘Hi Mike, I’d like you to meet Greeny, he has an interesting story.’ I told Mike about my backstory and he listened intently. It turns out Mike is an Executive Performance Coach and one of his core professional services is teaching speaking and presenting skills. A few years later, Mike confided in me saying, ‘When we met mate, I knew you had a lot to offer the world by speaking, but I also knew you could not afford my fees!’ So he made a generous decision and volunteered his time and commenced coaching me in professional speaking. Next he introduced me to Professional Speakers Australia, encouraged me to apply for The Kerrie Nairn Scholarship for Public Speaking, which I was awarded in 2015, and became an amazing friend who continues to coach me to this day.
It was an honour to recognise my father, Joel and Mike in the keynote, and tell their stories of selfless kindness, which had a powerful butterfly effect, of not only helping me to ‘keep going’, but turn a traumatic event on its head and launch me into the world of professional speaking.
Lastly it was a privilege to recognise these same types of selfless acts of kindness demonstrated by Lifeline’s employees and thousands of volunteers each day around the country, helping those members of our community who may not be as fortunate to have a support network such as mine and are doing it tough.
It is a pure joy to support Lifeline’s work. After my talk, John Brogden AM, Chairman of Lifeline Australia had these humbling words to say…
Lifeline Australia’s 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention line is 13 11 14.
Please support Lifeline’s mission of An Australia Free of Suicide through volunteering your time or making a donation.