Community News

The great unsung hero from Maclean Public

Who is a hero? Is a hero someone who carries out one heroic or memorable deed? Or is it someone who lives a life of charity and consideration?
Well the great unsung hero of our choice is Kevin Ellem.
Kevin was born on Ashby Island to farming parents. He caught the Ashby Ferry each day to school at Maclean Public. At the age of seven, he drove a draught horse to scuffle cane or manned a hoe to dig weeds after school. Kevin moved on to Maclean High and then on to work at the age of sixteen at the Clarence River Fisherman’s Co-op.
Kevin was apprenticed as a refrigeration mechanic and has worked at the same job for forty three years. Over the years the refrigeration staff of five, has shrunk to one, leaving just Kevin responsible for the refrigeration of all seafood that comes out of the Clarence River. Countless families too, with cool room and refrigeration issues, have relied on Kevin to get them out of trouble any time day or night.
Kevin has lived all his life in the Lower Clarence and during that time has touched the lives of many. His quiet manner and helpful nature have seen him get involved in many community activities and family parties where he has worked behind the scene. Many functions have relied on Kevin organising the refrigeration of goods. Many Maclean shows and campdrafts have had cattle deliveries made by Kevin. All this important support, unseen and unnoticed by many, was all carried out by the good will of Kevin.
And would any other person be as kind-hearted as to let their cat have kittens in their brand new Akubra! This came to pass late one night after a thirst quenching session and an unplanned sleep on the front verandah.
In April Kevin took part in the lighthorse re-enactment for the 2015 ANZAC Day celebrations. He rode from Copmanhurst to Grafton as part of a 145 strong group. This was a two day event that made a very powerful statement about comradeship.
Kevin would be just one hero who has past benefited from an education at Maclean Public School but most certainly worthy of this accolade.
Desley Spencer

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