Anzac Day services another big step in recovery process
IN THE shadow of a crumbling plumbing supplies business on Chapman St the 2017 Proserpine Anzac Day march began.
With the destruction of Cyclone Debbie still clearly visible in the street and certainly fresh in the memory of most, the march went on.
School children joined with returned services personnel.
Members of the Queensland Police Service joined with Girl Guides.
And youngsters wearing the medals of their fallen relatives joined with current serving members of the Australian Defence Force.
As the parade rounded the Metropole Hotel on Main St the Australian flags went up and applause sounded.
Peter Olivetta's vintage Jeep led the procession to the Proserpine cenotaph where the marchers were met by even more of the town's well-wishers.
President of the Proserpine RSL Sub Branch Jason Raiteri estimated the crowd to be similar to that of last year, however in the wake of Cyclone Debbie he affirmed the turn out to be better than expected.
"Considering what everyone has been through the last few weeks the turnout was really good,” he said.
"A lot of people have had a hard time in the last few weeks and would have taken advantage of the long weekend to go away.
"But there is a lot that have stayed and a lot that have turned out today.
"There was a big turnout at the dawn service as well, which is really good to see,” Mr Raiteri said.
Earlier this year the Proserpine RSL lost its oldest living member in Jack Tyree.
In his address to the crowd assembled at the Proserpine cenotaph, Member for Whitsunday, Jason Costigan, acknowledged the passing of a centenarian and a truly respected icon within the RSL.
Mr Costigan said Jack would be looking down on proceedings in Proserpine with a smile on his face.
"He had been in the RSL a long time and was pretty close to a lot of the locals," Mr Raiteri said.
Division 3 councillor John Collins said the march and Anzac Day services in Proserpine had helped restore a sense of normality to the town after Cyclone Debbie had thrown many people's lives upside down.
"The way it has been run and the amount of people that have turned up, particularly the school children, the spirit of Anzac is still well and truly alive even after all the hassles we have all been through over the last month,” he said.
"I would like to particularly thank Jason Raiteri and the RSL for getting things happening, it has been a fantastic effort.”
Mr Collins said the Anzac Day commemorations in Proserpine were a big step forward in the town's recovery from the devastation of Cyclone Debbie.
"Once the footy games kick off here there will be a bit more normality and we can get back to doing normal things again,” Cr Collins said.