Mine worker tribute: 'Love ya guts ya big unit'
OUR mate Brad, everyone's mate, the one guy you would drop anything for to have a yarn to, the one guy who could always make your day better after spending time having a yarn with him about anything - cars, kids, life.
Brad was the guy we all wanted to be mates with and luckily enough he wanted to be mates with us too.
I moved to Sarina from the Burdekin in 1991 and met Brad through mutual mates.
He was a spray painter for Franklins Panelworks in Sarina and very good at it. I had an old Holden ute I was restoring and Brad just could not help me enough.
We had only just met but he could not do enough for me, one of the first guys in the region who made me feel welcome after moving here.
I have spent a lot of time this week reflecting on my friendship with Brad, the time we spent just shooting the breeze. I know everyone who knew him will be thinking the same.
He was just the guy you could have a yarn with after months of not seeing one another and just pick up where you left off last time.
Over the years, Brad moved out of the spray painting trade into a career in underground mining and as is what happens when a mate moves away you only see each other at special events, car shows and events such as our Old School Breakfasts, the drags at Palmyra
But every single time it would be as if we had only seen each other yesterday. He was genuinely that guy, the glue almost, the guy who was mates with blokes you didn't really know but got to know through him.
He had his stove hot 250 Cortina when I met him as a young bloke, his EH Premier that came along around the same time as his daughter.
He loved that car and since he passed last week I have often thought about how much I would have loved to have seen him drive it much more often.
He was always so busy helping others with their projects that I think his own special projects were put on the back burner.
Last November, we had breakfast together at George's Diner at Conway Beach. Brad and his wife Lisa have a block of land close by, they have a shed there and he was building it into a place where we he could do restoration work, sheet metal, painting, the work he loved.
His passion for that dream just gives me goosebumps thinking about it.
It's hard to think that he passed without getting to fulfil that dream in its entirety. He was working at it, though, and I know he lived with that dream burning bright in the forefront of his mind.
When I heard about Brad's passing I was devastated as we all are. Anyone who knew him has had an incredibly tough week, but out of the darkness comes respect, love and a desire to honour him in some way.
I knew I could help round up some mates of his with old school cars to be at his funeral on Wednesday through my contacts locally and show our respect to the man we all loved, our mate Brad.
So with that in mind, if you knew Brad and want to show your respect to honour him then please bring your pride and joy along to his funeral, bring some light to a dark day for his wife Lisa, son, daughter and the rest of Brad's immediate family.
Banding together, spinning a few yarns, checking out the cars and honouring our mate Brad. It's what he would he would have wanted and I know he will be watching on with that big cheeky grin of his.
Farewell mate, love ya guts ya big unit.