Heart tells Phyllis to help people

PHYLLIS Hamilton is a real hero.

She may be little, but this 82year-old has a big heart.

After more than 60 years of helping the community, she has countless "tall'' stories to tell.

Like the time a plane crashed outside her home while she was getting ready for work in 1945.

"I tried to save the pilot's life (John Flint) but there was nothing I could do,'' she said.

"The crash happened where Rockhampton High School now stands.''

Born in Rockhampton in 1923, Mrs Hamilton (nee Russell) lived on a farm with her parents at Dalma.

At 18 she joined the Patriotic Fund in 1941 packing parcels which were sent to the Australian soldiers during World War II.

Among her busy life, she married her true love Kevin at 21, and had three sons, Peter, Ian and Kerrod.

She said her three children were devoted to the Scouting movement led by their father.

"We also looked after a fourth child, a friend of Peter who was from a broken family,'' she said.

Mrs Hamilton's dedication continued through the years by looking after her husband who passed away three years ago from a four-year battle with cancer.

But it wasn't until the events of August 28, 1980, that her efforts were first officially recognised.

A two-vehicle accident outside Rockhampton caught her attention over the radio.

"The mother and father were killed in the crash, leaving two young girls seriously injured,'' she said.

Mrs Hamilton said she went to the hospital to see what she could do, patiently waiting by the bedside of the two girls for them to recover.

She said softly: "I watched as the youngest of the two, a sixyear-old girl, died before my very eyes.''

Mrs Hamilton said she stayed with the remaining survivor, a 12-year-old girl by the name of Vanessa Knight.

"Once she got better, I welcomed her to our property where we waited for her relatives from Bowen and South Australia to arrive,'' she said.

"Vanessa still visits me from time to time.''

When asked about her calling and empathy with the community, Mrs Hamilton said it was her heart that told her to help people.

"I think it's just me, I want to help people,'' she said. Mrs Hamilton now teaches arts and crafts with a small group painting china plates.

Mrs Hamilton's awards and community involvement include the Telecom Advance Australia Award in 1992, Citizenship Award of Rockhampton in 1992, Bicentenary Award in 1988, Member of the Country Women's Association since 22, helping out in arts and crafts, Brownie leader for 15 years, Central Queensland University teacher for the disabled, foundation member of the Wandal Gym Club and Porcelain Decorators Club of Rockhampton and Meals on Wheels.

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