What I See with Peter Fiorenza: Recent losses remind us of the remarkable and selfless people in our community

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
Jason O’Brien
Camera IconJason O’Brien

Sometimes we need to be reminded there are some remarkable people in our community.

Unfortunately, it is often only when these people die that we fully recognise their selfless attitude.

Recently, the Brigades Football Club lost a great club person: Jason O’Brien, pictured. Although I didn’t know Jason that well, I was certainly well aware of his tireless work within the club and junior football across the league.

Jason’s short life was honoured at a memorial service attended by hundreds — a moving tribute to a good family man and exceptionally good citizen.

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It was ironic that around that time Geraldton lost another good citizen. When I was very young, my parents introduced my brother and me to football at the Rover Football Club.

In those days, during winter, footy was the game and I remember being somewhat timid and arriving at Greenough Oval not knowing what to expect.

But within minutes of taking to the training field, I heard the kind and encouraging voice of the great Jack Spowart.

Jack, a Demons champion in his day, was my first coach.

Jack died in the metropolitan area but the impact he and his late wife Diane had on junior football is immeasurable.

There is no doubt every kid who pulled on boots from the 1970s through to the end of the 1990s would have come into contact with Jack.

It didn’t matter what club you played for, Jack took an interest in your progress.

Early August also marked the 20th anniversary of the death of another selfless person — Brian (Putter) Smith.

Putter was a constant for more than half my life.

He was a tremendous sportsman, excelling in football, cricket and hockey.

The man also had a broadcast voice and media acumen that could have seen him reach the professional heights of people such as Dennis Cometti and George Grljusich.

His service to our local sporting community on and of the field was immeasurable.

From sitting on committees and boards to hosting club events and fundraisers, he will never be forgotten.

Like Jason, Putter died too young.

And you know what?

Jason, Jack and Putter always did it with a smile.

There are a lot of sad things happening in the world today, but I think all that is counteracted by inspirational people — the people who lift us up from the gloom.

As Barbra Streisand sings: “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

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