RURAL Fire Service (RFS) volunteer Ray Astill says he’s speechless over the kind words and generosity shown him since the theft of his vehicle and tools from an RFS shed at Clifton Grove two weeks ago.
The Central Western Daily (CWD) has been inundated with calls and emails from people furious over the theft and eager to help Mr Astill in any way they can.
“I don’t know what to say, I just really appreciate it,” Mr Astill said.
“I just battle on from day to day, so I didn’t expect this.”
Mr Astill, a retired paramedic, was left “devastated” by the theft of his silver Mazda Bravo and tools from the RFS’s locked Spring Glen Road facility.
The theft occurred sometime between October 30 and November 1 when Mr Astill was fighting a series of small fires in the Ophir and Clifton Grove areas.
As a result of the theft Mr Astill has been unable to undertake a range of voluntary handyman work he does for elderly people in the area.
“I do a bit of work for neighbours or people that need help, just little jobs,” he said.
Mr Astill was thrilled to learn Bunnings Warehouse had offered to give him some new tools to help kick-start a new tool kit.
“This will be a great help, for sure,” he said.
CWD reader Gerard O’Shea said he couldn’t believe anyone would be “awful enough to pinch someone’s gear when they’re out serving the community”.
“I was horrified to hear about this [considering] all the time and effort volunteers like him put in.”
Another CWD reader Mandy Rogers said she’s been “cranky” ever since she read about the theft.
“I’ve been mad about it ever since,” she said.
“He was out there helping people, fighting fires, and then this happened to him,” she said.
“I know looking at my own shed and the tools I have, I’d be sick if all that went.”
The syndicated radio show, The Ray Hadley Morning Show on 2GB, also discussed the theft on air last week after reading of Mr Astill’s plight in the CWD.