by Peter Carruthers
CARMEL Pyatt does not know how she would have got through Tropical Cyclone Debbie without the heroic help of Ricky Falzon.
The former mines rescue worker arrived at her Cannonvale home in Kookaburra Drive and literally cut his way through to the house occupied by Carmel and her husband Steve.
Ricky said he didn't want to arrive empty handed and on his way from Mackay he stopped in at Brumbies bakery and bought out the whole store.
"I went in there and said jokingly, 'I will take everything you have got',” he said.
When Ricky explained he was doing a run to the Whitsundays the Sydney St bakery helped load up his Landcruiser and gave him a 20% discount.
By the time he got to the Whitsundays Ricky's ute was full of food, fuel for generators and of course a big chainsaw.
After the run he made to the Whitsundays that Friday, just a couple of days after the cyclone had hit, Ricky did it again on Saturday and Sunday, bringing support in the form of some mates with a desire to help.
"It was such a big job, I couldn't leave it. That's when we did another run on Sunday,” Ricky said.
"It just ballooned from there.”
He then took time off work to head back to the disaster zone on the following Wednesday.
When Carmel was asked why Ricky made the four-hour round trip as many times as he could she said, "that's Ricky, it's just the sort of person he is”.
Ricky said Airlie Beach had provided him with so many good memories growing up and he wanted to give back to the community.
He said he was amazed at the humility of the cyclone-affected people on the ground.
"At a time of need people's graciousness (was surprising). They were saying they were okay and to give it the next person,” he said.
"I had to actually tell them 'no this is for you'.
"It was humbling to see they thought the next person was in more in need than they were.”
Ricky said he saw an opportunity to help and grabbed it with both hands, he was just "really happy to see that others were happy”.