Mildura Weekly : Friday January 31 Vol 8 No 13
www.milduraweekly.com.au 22 Mildura Weekly – 31/01/14 IN THE RIVERLAND THIS WEEK By BEV STORY BECOMING a quadriplegic in the prime of life could be seen as reason enough for a person to withdraw from active community involvement. But Del Kaesler, ably aided by her husband Theo, has simply adapted to life without the use of her legs, and continues to volunteer her time generously. And, on Australia Day this year, the couple were honoured with a Commendation Award in Recogni- tion of Outstanding Service to the Community by Loxton Waikerie Council. The pair’s contribution to the Loxton community is enough to put that of even the most enthusiastic able-bodied couple to shame – with strong involvement in St Peter’s Lu- theran Church, the annual Loxton Show and Agricultural Bureau as highlights. Theo was born and raised in Lox- ton, the only child of farmers Ern and Guen Kaesler. Del grew up in Berri, where her parents, George and Gwen Cook, were fruit growers – a life Del said she didn’t want for herself. “I never wanted to marry a ‘blockie’,” she said. “So she married a farmer,” Theo finished for her. Del said she had enough of cut- ting apricots by hand, or picking grapes, for eight hours a day while growing up. Every job was much more labour intensive than today, Del recalls. The couple married in the Zion Lutheran Church, at Berri, on April 4, 1970. They have two children – Paul, who is the fourth generation to farm their Loxton property, and Alison – both now adults – and four grand- daughters. Yet, they find time to balance their commitment to family with farm work and community life – and have done so for decades. Spend any time with the Kaeslers, and you quickly realise their story is a life-long love story. “Mum was worried when we ex- changed friendship rings when we were 18 and a half,” he said. However, the young couple knew they wanted to be together and were determined to be so. It was 1993 when Del fell off the back of a tray-top ute – becoming a quadriplegic. The day before she had been the best player on the field for her hockey team. Making the change from active sportsperson to a wheelchair bound person has had its challenges – but Theo and Del cope with it all with humour and love. One such example was the day before they headed off on an extend- ed driving holiday, and Del spilled boiling water on herself. Having no feeling in legs, she simply mopped of the excess water – only to find out later that her legs were badly blistered. The writing on the tyre at the en- trance to their farm – “The Farmer and The Del” – comes from the time she spent in rehabilitation in Ad- elaide after her accident. “One day, this person said ‘Here comes the farmer and the Del’,” Theo said. “I thought; ‘I like that’.” Her life-changing accident hasn’t stopped Del from being an active contributor to the Loxton communi- ty – with Theo her tower of support. In the time since she became a quadriplegic, Del has put her ener- gies into work she can do at the table, or on the computer. She spent eight years as book checker for the Bookpurnong Luther- an Ladies Guild; filled the same role for Berri Softball Club for six years; the Ulysses Bike Club for two years; and Berri Netball Club and Riverland Netball Association for five years – a position she still holds today. Del served as president of the Loxton A & H Society in 2004 and 2005, and was awarded life member- ship in 2005. She started her show service as a convenor in 1973 for the junior ex- hibitors, and continued in the role for a decade. Del has also been a section stew- ard, and continues as the show’s en- tertainment coordinator – a role she has held since 2001. The Riverland Brass Band has been blessed with her services as secretary since 2009; Riverland Lu- theran Camp Kedron from 2010, and now Riverview Rest Home – where she is a board member as well as sec- retary. Both Theo and Del are passion- ate and active parish members of St Peter’s Lutheran Church. Theo is a life time member who has contributed 33 years to the church – as a steward, bell ringer, counter and treasurer. Del was always actively involved with their children’s individual inter- ests and served as secretary for two years of the Loxton Lutheran School Parents and Friends, and as assistant treasurer for 33 years of the Loxton Lutheran Parish. The former hockey player also held the secretary position for the Loxton Hockey Club for a number of years, and was made patron in 2005. Like his wife, Theo is a keen and enthusiastic member of the Loxton A & H Society and a life member. Mayor Leon Stasinowsky said facing considerable challenges, and hurdles in life had not deterred Theo and Del from making every minute count. “Both have genuinely caring natures, and are dedicated to their causes – and all this is achieved with- out any fuss,” he said. “Volunteers are the foundation of a strong community, and on be- half of the community, we are truly grateful for the many hours our lo- cal volunteers have committed to the betterment of our district.” Del’s quadriplegia is no obstacle • M ildura • RedCliffs • M erbein • W ent w orth • Dareton • Robinvale Visit www.milduraweekly.com.au to view our new interactive paper 5 NIGHT HOUSEBOAT HOLIDAY WIN NEW Simply visit www.milduraweekly.com.au and follow the promts to subscribe to our FREE INTERACTIVE DIGITAL PAPER before 28th of February 2014, and you will automatically go in the draw to WIN A 5 NIGHT HOUSEBOAT HOLIDAY !* or Apple iPad as second prize!* 2nd Prize, Apple iPad The pages of the Mildura Weekly can be viewed online with all the local news, information and colour of the printed edition. COURTESY OF Free subscription provides access to the Mildura Weekly many hours before the printed edition is available, via email alerts. Photo galleries Embedded audio Embedded video Special links to advertisers and their offers Plus the digital pages are packed full of additional content such as: milduracentral.com .au CornerDeakinAve&FifteenthSt Fri 20 Dec....................................... 9am - 9pm Sat 21 - Sun 22 Dec......................9am - 5pm Mon 23 Dec.................................... 9am - 9pm Tues 24 Dec.............................9am - 5.30pm Wed 25 Dec........................................ CLOSED LOOKING FOR A LAST MINUTE GIFT? Somestorehours mayvary, pleasecheckwithindividualretailers.Woolworths isopenfrom 7amuntilmidnight,withtheexception of24/12closing at10pm andclosedall day25/12.Targetextendedhours willvary,pleasesee theteamfor details. BOXINGDAYOPENFROM9AM Distributed FREE every Friday Vol.8 No.8 www. mildu r aw eek ly. com. au Friday, December 20, 2013 Let there be lights Across Sunraysia, the traditional annual Christmas lights display heralds the coming of the festive season. One of those families to make a stunning effort are the Bloomfields from Merbein, including daughter, Belladonna, 5, who needed little prompting from our photographer DARREN SEILER to get into the Christmas spirit. The family’s ‘enlightening’ story is on Page 2. 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