FAMILIES with a connection that stretches across the world met up at Orange City Council chambers yesterday in a poignant ceremony to hand over paintings that the owner believes “are coming home”.
Ed and Sandy Bonczek who now live in the United States came to Australia on a teaching exchange many years ago and Mr Bonczek taught science at Orange High School and Canobolas High School.
Living in Kenna Street they formed a strong bond with residents, particularly the Mendham family who were involved in a butchering business in Woodward Street, with Hilton Mendham becoming something of a mentor for the young couple and their children.
“He gave me wonderful advice every single day while we were here and I almost felt like he was a father,” said Mr Bonczek.
When the couple had to return to the United States they took back with them two paintings by Martin Coyte as mementos of their time in Orange.
“Those paintings have hung on the walls of our two homes since and we’ve looked at them every single day,” said Mr Bonczek as he presented the paintings to Orange mayor John Davis.
However Mr Bonczek said as he and his wife were getting on in years and their children did not have the same connection with the paintings, they should be returned to hang on the walls at Orange City Council.
Mrs Bonczek said she fell in love with Orange and they way they were welcomed.
“I could have lived in Orange all my life but with our family commitments we had to go back to the United States,” she said.
Cr Davis said he appreciated the gesture of the Bonczeks who have travelled from across the world to present them to council.
“I notice one of them is iconic - the Gladstone Hotel, which many people in Orange will relate to,” he said.