Honourable man farewelled

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - By Patrick Tansey

Last Mon­day, the com­mu­nity said farewell to much-loved and re­spected fig­ure Keith Nor­ton.

A fu­neral ser­vice was held at St Joseph’s church in Ba­rooga, where the Vic­to­rian SES life mem­ber was laid to rest by fam­ily, friends and for­mer col­leagues who filled the church to pay their re­spects.

SES mem­bers formed a guard on hon­our as Mr Nor­ton’s cof­fin made its way out of the church.

Mr Nor­ton passed away at the age of 81 af­ter a bat­tle with Parkin­son’s dis­ease.

Af­ter join­ing the SES in 1994, he went on to be­come just the fifth per­son to re­ceive a Vic­to­rian SES life mem­ber­ship and was also awarded a NSW long ser­vice medal.

He also had a stint as vice-pres­i­dent of the Tocumwal Res­cue Squad.

Co­bram SES vol­un­teer Dar­ren Hawke, who worked with Keith for many years, said his legacy within the SES, Tocumwal Res­cue Squad and NSW Vol­un­teer Res­cue As­so­ci­a­tion (VRA) would live on for many years to come.

‘‘He was the sta­biliser, the glue that kept us all to­gether,’’ Mr Hawke said.

‘‘He helped keep us safe. He con­stantly kept us think­ing about pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios in emergency sit­u­a­tions and how we would com­bat them and he al­ways kept us on track.’’

Mr Hawke said Mr Nor­ton’s calm­ing na­ture helped SES and VRA mem­bers cope with the most chal­leng­ing facets of the job.

‘‘As emergency re­sponse work­ers, we see some hor­rific things, things that you don’t for­get and things that can keep you up at night, but Keith al­ways went out of his way to make sure we were do­ing okay,’’ he said.

‘‘He al­ways things holis­ti­cally.’’

Mr Hawke said Mr Nor­ton’s strong per­sonal qual­i­ties al­ways shone through.

‘‘He was old school, he was cour­te­ous, he was re­spect­ful, viewed he was a good lis­tener, but most of all, an honourable gen­tle­man al­ways sup­ported by a cheeky smile that al­lowed him to get away with al­most any­thing and he used it to his ad­van­tage,’’ Mr Hawke said.

‘‘He showed us what right looked like.’’

Co­bram SES deputy con­troller Luke Herezo said his men­tor would al­ways go ‘‘above and be­yond his nor­mal du­ties to help oth­ers’’.

‘‘For me, Keith was more than just a fel­low vol­un­teer. He was a mate and a true life­long friend who I will never for­get,’’ he said.

Re­spected: SES vol­un­teers Luke Herezo and Car­rie Hawke with Keith Nor­ton in 2011. Pic­ture: Elise Bea­com

Re­mem­ber­ing a muchloved man: SES vol­un­teers formed a guard of hon­our at Keith’s fu­neral.

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