Thanks for 'The Big Help' says Pete
POMSTAR's Peter Crowley calls the day Lismore came together to clean up after the flood: "The Big Help”.
Like most hairdressers, Pete's got his finger on the pulse of the community. He was also one of the businesses right at the centre of the inundation.
He admits when he first saw Lismore on the Sunday after the water had receded he wasn't sure the city was going to make it.
"Just the pure devastation; I can't even describe the destruction it was like the Thailand Tsunami had gone through.”
"Now there's a whole thing going on. It's like we're back; people are getting back on their feet again and there's this forward push feeling," he tells me as my tresses hit the floor.
He says before the flood other business owners and members of the community would often smile as they passed his shop window in the Star Court Arcade.
"Now they wave, " he says, "it's like we know we've gotten through it together.”
And with the grant money starting to come through, Pete thinks the city is going to be better than ever.
He describes the way the community has come together, especially in those days after the flood as "the most humbling experience of his life.”
"I can't really describe it but it gives me goosebumps just talking about it. All I can say is: it just makes me feel so extraordinarily proud to be part of this city.”
He'll never forget coming back to his salon to find people he'd never even met before in the shop mopping the floors.
"People came in to help from everywhere.
"It was an incredible effort; women, children, teenagers, electricians...and this went on for days...No questions asked..”
The SES, the RFS, the council; according to Pete, they were all "exceptional”.
It is for this reason, he says the business owners who are to benefit from the grant money have pledged that every cent will be spent putting funds back into the hands of the people who took part in "The Big Help”.
For Pete, the grant money means his salon gets a refit. For local suppliers, his new washing machine and hair products will come from them.
As Pete gave my hair its final zhush he had one more message to get across.
"And to the person who came in and mopped up on the Sunday. I don't even know your name but if you know who you are, thank you.”
"I am very grateful and proud to have had you here.”