Good-hearted Mr Gale

Forest resident David Gale has volunteered much of his time to help in making his community a better place. Picture: Ashleigh Force.

Community. David Gale is an altruistic man with a generous heart.

The 72-year-old selflessly dedicates his time to volunteering each week and attributes this passion to wanting to give back to the giving community he grew up in.

Born to William Lonnie Gale and Lennice Louisa (nee Emmerton) on January 27, 1944, Mr Gale has lived in Circular Head his whole life.

The third youngest of eight children, Mr Gale has fond memories of his childhood in Marrawah.

“We seemed to make our own fun,” he remembers.

“A lot of swimming at the beach . . . not a lot of fishing. I didn’t enjoy fishing, I don’t know why, seeing as I lived by the sea.”

At just five years old, his family was struck by tragedy. His father had been killed in a workplace accident.

“After that, Mum looked after us – all eight of us,” Mr Gale recalls.

“The eldest went out to work and the youngest wasn’t born yet.”

Left to raise eight children, the district chipped in to lend the family a helping hand.

“This is where you get the community spirit from,” Mr Gale says.

“They had a working bee after Dad got killed and all the district turned up [to] clear some land so that Mum could milk cows to keep us fed.

“See this is where it starts from, you see other people volunteer [and] their kindness rubs off.”

As he grew older, Mr Gale began work on the family farm and has since worked at a number of properties.

“Different people influence your life,” he says.

“Like Kevin Heres influenced my life a fair bit, he gave me employment when I left school.”

At age 27, Mr Gale met his wife Lorraine (nee Kay) at a church gathering. Two years later, the pair were married on August 11, 1973, before five children and nine grandchildren followed.

However shortly after the couple met, Mr Gale was involved in a car accident and the first person by his bedside was Lorraine.

A small tattered diary enclosing important dates and addresses also holds the remnants of an old newspaper clipping, an article about the accident. Mr Gale today still holds his wife’s journal dear.

In 2005 Lorraine was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Despite working full time and often travelling the length of the state to take his wife to appointments and treatments, Mr Gale built their Forest home in just six months, once again made possible by the wider community’s generosity.

Local opportunity store Treasure Chest donated numerous fuel vouchers and a fly screen for their back door while several mates lent Mr Gale a hand.

After his wife passed away in 2010, Mr Gale turned to volunteering.

Participating in an induction course at Wyndarra Centre, he now devotes several hours a week to the local organisation.

Regularly mowing lawns and running errands for residents, Mr Gale says he savours these afternoons and the friendships he has developed.

“Just the feeling of helping people, you don’t do it for a reward – you do it to help someone,” he says.

“They’ve all got a story to tell.”

Mr Gale says the role does require a degree of patience, you must be accepting and withhold judgement but mostly all you need to do is be a friend.

“It’s grounded in you I think,” he says.

“I always admire people who look after those with disabilities. You see them in the street in Smithton, they do a wonderful job.”

Mr Gale also volunteers his time at GLO Ministries, tending to the garden, painting and patching up any fix-it jobs required.

As a young man he helped to establish the public buildings on Nelson Street and parts of Smithton High School.

The Forest resident is also a dedicated member of the Irishtown Gospel Church.

Attending the Sunday services for the past four decades, Mr Gale has volunteered labour to re-clad and paint the church, construct a lunch room and regularly mows the lawns.

He has reached out to support local families in crisis many a time, as the community has done for him.

“There is always good in man,” he says.

“We see some terrible things out there through the news but there is always someone to step forward and do something kind for others.”

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