Colleagues arrange dream homecoming
BRAVE Townsville paramedic Jamie Jackway has finally returned to the North 15 months after a horror fall from a helicopter winch near Thursday Island and now his mates want to make sure his long-awaited homecoming is as comfortable as possible.
Mr Jackway’s colleagues describe him as a ‘‘ gentle giant’’ always willing to lend a hand and indeed it was while he was rescuing a man from the deck of a ship via helicopter that he received severe spinal injuries after the winch snapped and he plunged 16m onto the deck.
The Townsville local had only just moved his wife and three children to Thursday Island to take up the new job opportunity when the accident occurred and the family had to move again to Brisbane for his exhaustive rehabilitation treatment.
Mr Jackway and his family are currently living in a housing commission property as the townhouse they still own in Townsville is no longer suitable due to the staircase.
A team of 15 enthusiastic ambulance service volunteers have been renovating the townhouse so the Jackway family can sell it and put the funds towards their dream purposebuilt disability friendly home on a block they own in Kelso.
But with three kids to make room for and expensive modifications to fit, the home won’t come cheap and so Mr Jackway’s mates have taken on the challenge to raise the funds.
So far local businesses have been generous with No Sweat Airconditioning fitting out the townhouse and the staff from Spotlight sacrificing the individual gift cards they all receive each year so the family could buy curtains for their temporary home.
The Jackways were also surprised with a swag of donated goods at a welcome home function at the Townsville RSL last night and contractors and suppliers have been generous in reducing their fees but much more help is needed.
Mr Jackway said he was overwhelmed by the generosity shown towards his family.
‘‘ I’ve got friends and family up here so it’s good to come home,’’ he said.
‘ ‘ A new house would be lovely. There would be a bit more room for my chair to move around in because it’s fairly big.’’
His wife Melinee said she was proud of the progress her husband had made since his accident.
‘‘ When he first had the accident he couldn’t even talk,’’ she said.
‘‘ Now he just keeps taking it day by day, getting better.
‘‘ I really want to say thank you to ambulance officers because if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have any of this.’’
Fellow paramedic Aaron Harper said he hoped the community would get behind the appeal.
‘ ‘ We’re asking local companies to get on board and help us out,’’ he said.
‘‘ We’re especially looking for carpet for the old house but we need a whole range of things for the new home as well.’’
Donations can be deposited in the account name J a mi e Jackway Appeal BSB: 704-052 account number : 1 0 3 9 1 8 7 . Goods or furnishings can be donated by calling 4796 9068 or emailing rodney. powell@ dcs. qld. gov. au.
More information can be found at www. jja2012im. com.
SURPRISE: Jamie Jackway with wife Melinee and children Kavakore, 12, T’challa, 7, and Noelani, 12, at their welcome home party last night