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Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Page: 11369

Mrs GASH (9:36 AM) —I rise to honour and recognise the life of a well-loved man in my electorate of Gilmore, Jason Stortz. Jason was tragically killed in a hit and run accident on Saturday, 17 October. He was cycling along Marshall Mount Road, training for an upcoming triathlon, when tragedy struck. I would like to start by offering my sincere and heartfelt condolences to Mr Stortz’s family, who know only too well that he is a man worth remembering.

Jason was born in Shellharbour in 1970. He went to school in the Warilla area and when he was 17 he joined the Defence Force, where he served for nine years. The contribution he made to society and the sacrifices this involved should not be forgotten. Before he died, Jason worked for Kiama Council. His co-workers described him as an honest and genuine man who will be greatly missed. Jason’s family have revealed that he was recently accepted into the New South Wales Police Academy. I am sure he would have made a fine officer. Jason was also an active member of the local Kiama community. He was a committed member of the triathlon club, where he was well-respected and admired. Jason is survived by his wife, Kylie, and 15-month-old son, Harry, as well as his parents, four sisters and many friends.

I am very proud of the way in which the people of Kiama and surrounding areas have shown their support for Jason’s family at this difficult time. They turned out in their hundreds on the weekend to remember the life of this respected local triathlete at the place where he lost his life. It is a testimony to the kind of man Jason was that some 300 cyclists took to their bikes on this day as a gesture of respect. It certainly speaks volumes about how deeply the loss of his life will be felt in our community.

Jason worked hard to provide for his family. He was just 39 years old when he passed away, far too young and with still so much to give. He was known for being an all-round good bloke, a loving husband, an affectionate dad and someone with a great sense of humour. Hundreds of people paid tribute to him on local websites and many have shared their memories of him as a disciplined man who was regularly seen running as he followed his personal training routine. This outpouring of love and appreciation I am sure brings great comfort to the Stortz family. I hope this formal recognition of Jason’s life and the high regard in which he was held bring some comfort to young Harry, who might one day read this in Hansard’s official records. I say to Harry: in years to come you will read this and understand just how proud we in the community are of your dad.

Once again, I would like to extend my sympathy to all who have been left behind. My thoughts and prayers are with you all, and for me, the local federal member, it is an honour to represent you, Harry, and your family. My wish is that when you are old enough I can personally present you with a copy of this speech so you can see for yourself how much we respected your dad.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER —I am sure the members of the Main Committee share in those sentiments. I congratulate the member for Gilmore on those great words.