Have you ever considered the impact that there would be on your life if members of your family were involved in a serious motor vehicle accident and were hopelessly trapped in a wreck such as the one in this photograph and that there was no rescue squad to get them out while they were still alive?

This is indeed a very serious question that we as citizens of Narrabri should not ignore – because that was the reality for me on April 30, 1975, when our family station wagon was crushed by a loaded furniture van near Turrawan.

The head-on impact was horrendous.

It tore the front axle off the truck which then continued on over the top of the car and exited over the back driver’s side rear wheel and on into the bush.

The steering wheel, dash, fire-wall and roof were crushed in and down onto Judy and Michell.

Three doctors were first on the scene and could see that they were badly injured and hopelessly trapped and would die before they could be rescued.

But thankfully, this was not to be, for the unexpected and unimagined was about to happen.

Ben Havehoek was contracted grading the road shoulder from Turrawan towards Narrabri when he came over the rise and saw the accident.

He told me that afternoon how he immediately reached for the shire radio and called base for help while raising the blade with the other hand.

He arrived at the scene to be informed by the doctors how serious and urgent the situation was.

A Volvo truck arrived and Ben told the driver to chain the towbar of the car to his bullbar while he turned the grader around. You can see from the photo how Ben used his grader with imagination and skill to free Judy and Michell.

The ambulance arrived during this process, and they were able to get them out and rush them to hospital.

Judy was so badly injured that I could only identify her by the dress she had on when I left for work.

She spent 14 weeks in hospital, and then a long rehabilitation period followed.

Michell was battered and bruised but not seriously injured and was home in three days.

The Mayor had called a public meeting to form a rescue squad in Narrabri on May 24, 1975.

I attended that meeting along with many other people, and the original squad was formed.

Though Judy had many more weeks to spend in hospital, I was so grateful that I still had my wife, and the children their mother.

I therefore believed that it was essential for me to be wholehearted in my commitment to the Rescue Squad so that we could provide a mantle of safety for my family and the people of the Narrabri Shire.

This we have done from May 1975 until now, but we are in need of men and women to join the Rescue Squad and be committed to training and serving those in need.

The training and qualifications gained are useful in many areas of life and the successes outweigh the difficult and emotional incidents and encourage us to press on for the sake of those in trouble or difficulty.

The squad is a team at an incident with our strengths, gifts and abilities complementing each other to get the best outcome but in caring for and supporting each other and our families, we are indeed a close and caring family.

What I have told you about the worst day of my life is only an outline, but my hope is that it is sufficient for you to realise how important the Narrabri Rescue Squad is to our community.

If it is possible for you to become an active squad member, I encourage you to consider it seriously and come to a training night for more information.

Training is each Thursday night at 7pm.

Since the squad was formed, I have with pleasure served along with many Narrabri men and women in our VRA to successfully provide or do whatever was needed, in a wide range of emergencies.

Would you now please consider becoming a dedicated squad member so that no one in our community should ever have to experience what I had to experience on April 30, 1975.

Terry Sadler, Veteran VRA member and the unit’s pastor

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