Zach's kindness repaid as Australia mourns a life cut short

Jack Parker (left) was first to raise the alarm and was back at Campbell's Beach today with friends to organise a memorial tribute to Zach Young.
Jack Parker (left) was first to raise the alarm and was back at Campbell's Beach today with friends to organise a memorial tribute to Zach Young. Frank Redward

THE GRIEF surrounding the loss of teenaged surfer Zach Young at Campbell's Beach on Saturday will last for years.

For family members and the close friends he accumulated during such a brief life, the ache will always be there.

Covering a story like this is the most difficult imaginable.

While getting the facts are important, so is decency and sensitivity and if there's one word that fits the core players involved in this tragedy, it's ... kindness.

From the first seconds Zach and his three companions knew something was wrong, kind and brave actions in the most deplorable of circumstances have been in evidence.

What anxiety must have been going through the minds of Zach's companions as they brought him back to shore, feeling that at any second, one of them might be the next attacked?

Even while they were coming back in through the waves, a local kid named Jack Parker was showing the kindness that has marked this terrible event as different.

Jack was first to realise something was very, very strange going on and instinctively took steps to raise the alarm.

Sprinting up and down the beach and through the scrub, he searched for somebody with a mobile phone who might call for help.

Eventually, Jack ran into the middle of the road to stop a passing vehicle.

Just like that, threw up his arms and pleaded with the driver to call Triple-0.

With Zach and his mates now back on the beach, Jack returned with his mum.

Together they gave comfort to the shattered group of mates until police and paramedics arrived.

Everybody who was there remarked how kind the cops and ambos were.

Later, Jack and his mum took those three shattered boys into their home, offered food and drink, and arranged showers so they'd be comfortable when police began the dreaded but necessary task of taking down their statements.

That was Saturday.

Today, with so many coming to the beach, Jack Parker and friends performed more kind actions by setting up a small tribute to a life ended too soon.

But that's not all.

Perhaps the karma of kindness to others has a way of finding its way back to the giver.

Hundreds gathered with Zach's family in Port Macquarie this morning at a church service to remember his work as an intern with the Youth For Christ group.

Apparently, Zach had a passion for homeless youth and others of his age who were doing it tough.

If Zach Young is remembered for being a kid who knew the real meaning of kindness, maybe that will be all the proof his family and friends need that his was a very worthwhile life.

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