Tributes flow for two good mates
THE only consolation Richard Burton can take in the tragic death of his son Nic is that the 20-year-old shared his final moments with a good mate.
Workmates Nic Burton and Adam Schwerin, 18, were killed when their ute veered off a road near Agnes Water in Central Queensland on Tuesday.
They met through their job at a Toowoomba home removal business and soon became good friends.
Richard and his wife Wendy Burton yesterday focused on the qualities Nic possessed which made them proud to be his parents.
The second of four children, Nic had a love for cars and in particular, his Holden Commodore ute.
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"He was just a typical 20-year-old," Mrs Burton said.
"He loved going camping with his brother and his mate."
She said her son had no difficulty letting people know how he felt, no matter what his mood was.
"He just didn't like sitting still.
"He always wanted to be around people."
Nic left school at Toowoomba State High School Wilsonton campus in Year 11 to take on work as a station hand at a Mt Isa property.
Despite the distance, he always kept in touch with his family.
"He went though about 100 phones just so he could ring," Mrs Burton said.
Nic returned to Toowoomba in February last year, starting work at Hassall Free Homes and later a relationship with girlfriend Jessica Sage.
He had dreams of travelling to the US and living at the coast.
His father said his family was holding up as well as it could in the face of the tragedy.
"The only consolation we have is that he went with his mate, not by himself," Richard said.
His mother said it was hard to know where to start.
"None of it makes sense," she said.
Adam's mother Sally Rushton said her son grew up playing rugby league for Newtown until he was 12 years old.
For the past five years he had worked to become a respected rugby league referee.
He was 15 when he started his apprenticeship at Hassall Free Homes and was due to be a qualified carpenter at the end of this year.
"Ady loved being a tradie and planned to have three trades up his sleeve and retire by the time he was 30," Mrs Rushton said.
She said her son loved cars, fishing and collecting things.
He had a "one day" completion date for all of his projects.
"If you asked him when it would be done he would say 'don't push me'."
Adam's favourite song was The Gambler and he loved a good rum.
"He had such a big heart and would do anything to help anybody . . . when it suited him.
"He was a loving uncle to four nieces and nephews and a loving brother to both his sisters."
Mrs Rushton said her son would be remembered.
"He will always be my baby boy and will be very deeply missed."
Adam's stepmother Cherie Schwerin yesterday spoke on behalf of her husband Ron, saying the teenager would be deeply missed by his father.
"He is devastated by the loss of his son," Mrs Schwerin said.
The young men's colleagues also paid tribute in a statement on behalf of the family business for which they worked.
"Hassall Free Homes is very saddened by the tragic passing of two of our workers, one a family member and the other treated like family," the statement read.
"The boys were valued employees and good mates who enjoyed working on the job together.
"They were always keen to go out of town, regularly travelling the state delivering our houses.
"They leave a void that will never be filled.
"They will be forever in our hearts."