As we go through life we form friendships with people because we share in similar values and interests and often get involved in the same or similar community service or activities.

However, as happened with our family, a crisis can eventuate and you discover that there is much that you don’t know about your friend.

With us it was a motor vehicle accident that caused us serious problems and difficulties that we could not overcome ourselves at the time.

It was then, April 30, 1975, that we discovered the extent of our friend’s commitment and generosity towards those in serious need.

We realised that what we knew about and experienced with our friend was only the tip of the iceberg.

Qualities that were unseen by us are now brought to the surface and used to help us through our difficult time.

That particular friend is joint 2020 Citizen of the Year Harvey Black.

It was Harvey who told me about the Mayor’s public meeting on May 24, 1975 to form a rescue squad.

From that meeting our lives have been bonded together in serving people in trouble – often life and death situations.

We immediately set ourselves to acquiring and making equipment and training to get the squad up and running.

Along with many other people, I could compose a long list of the things that Harvey Black has done for and in the VRA, Anzac Day, floods, along with other community activities and services of our community both at a local and state level.

I sometimes wonder how many lives have been saved or trauma eased through the work Harvey has done in training VRA members over the past 45 years.

The ‘Parable of the Good Samaritan’ is about a man’s tragic need and about the nature, the care and the concern for his needs, and also the commitment needed to take immediate action with disregard for the inconvenience and cost to care for and to provide for him.

Two men failed in all of these but the Samaritan fulfilled them all and that unreservedly.

If the man had not fallen among thieves and been left for dead, all of these qualities of the Samaritan would not have surfaced and been made known.

We see the best of the character and nature in our citizens when they find a need or a cause and get involved wholeheartedly.

Their contribution reveals what lengths they will go to for the well-being of others.

Harvey Black is one of those people in our community worthy of being Citizen of the Year.

As citizens of this shire, we should all rejoice in the fact that we have citizens in our midst worthy of that nomination because they are a great blessing to us.

It begs the question: “What would we be lacking in our community if we did not have such citizens as these in our midst?”

To Harvey I would like to say: “‘Dr’ Black, thanks for being the loyal friend that you are, and I’ll still cross/ride the river with you” – ‘Dr’ Sadler.

Rev Terry Sadler, Narrabri

Editor’s note: Mr Sadler explained that the ‘Dr’ title is a shared joke – he and Harvey Black once worked at a science facility where everyone else was a ‘doctor’ so they also referred to each other with the honorific.

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