Thurston: Meet the real champions of the North
MEET the real champions of the north.
You know the word hero gets thrown around a lot on the sporting field but then you watch your own community come together after what they're now calling a once-in-a 500 year flood and you see what courage, heart and resilience really means.
What I've seen over the past week has been devastating … and horrific … but it's also been inspiring.
I came up north almost 15 years ago, and I've been through some wet seasons, but nothing like what we've seen and hopefully I'll never see another monsoon like this in my lifetime.
But the floods that have hurt so many of us have also brought us closer together.
You think about blokes like Mitch James, standing in the torrential rain, handing out tarps to anybody and everybody - for free.
Mitch, who runs a local business Paradise Outdoor Advertising, and his 60-year-old dad stood on the side of the road for three days and they gave away something like 1500 tarps.
You also think of the immediate outpouring of help - the volunteers who got out in their hundreds to clean up. And then the tens of thousands of donated money to help build busted homes and broken lives.
Going through hard times, and being battered by floods and cyclones, over the years is part of living in North Queensland - and every single time it happens, we bind together and get each other through it.
This is the spirit the North is renowned for.
It's like that saying, tough times don't last … tough people do and people up here are tough.
And they're resilient.
I dropped my daughter Frankie off at school Friday morning and as I was walking through the carpark I asked one of the blokes how he was going.
"Not brilliant," he said.
The bloke had lost everything in the floods.
I then asked him if his family were all OK - "they're safe", he said.
And that's when we both looked at each other and just knew that everything was going to be OK.
The Ville faces a massive clean up … and sometimes it's hard to see beyond the hard slog of the clean up and recovery, but we have each other and we'll get through it.
Personally, my family was lucky.
We were in the part of the city that wasn't smashed by flood water.
But it was still a terrible time.
We had mates picked up by the army at 3am and evacuated, which was terrifying for them and just watching the city go under water was horrific.
But to see our community rally around each other didn't surprise me because I wouldn't expect anything less.
It makes me proud to be a Queenslander, and a North Queenslander at that.