Paddy loved being outdoors
By CRAIG McTEAR
AS the cotton harvest winds up in the next few weeks, the McGuire clan will be there to see it through to the end.
That's how their youngest child, Paddy, would have wanted it, because that's the sort of bloke he was ? he never left a job half done.
The 21-year-old, who grew up at Upper Orara, loved being a cotton-picker at Moree. But his occupation killed him on Monday night.
Paddy was working on a cotton module presser when he was crushed. The dreadful accident is now the subject of a WorkCover investigation.
His dad, Paddy snr, visited Paddy's workmates the next day, and reckons he hasn't seen so many red eyes among grown men before.
All 12 of them will make the heartbreaking journey to Karangi Lawn Cemetery next week to honour their fallen colleague.
"He loved his job, despite the long hours, and loved the guys he worked with," Paddy snr said.
"He said to me 'I really love being out here doing this'."
Back in February, father and son set off from their home at Ilarwill, near Maclean, to work in the cotton fields.
The adventure gave Paddy jnr his first real taste of independence, and once the cotton was done and dusted, he was going to chase more work.
As long as it was in the great outdoors, he really didn't mind what it was, or where it was.
He toyed with the idea of being a field assistant for seismic and geological survey crews in Central Australia, a canefield hand, even a dirtbike racer.
No matter what Paddy took on, he and his family knew he would do it well. He'd been that way all his life.
Baseball, softball, t-ball, cricket, table tennis ? you name it, he gave it his best shot. And nothing rankled him more than losing.
When he was in his last year at school, Paddy chopped and sold firewood to earn the $4500 he needed to buy the downhill mountainbike he'd always had his eye on.
His mum, Lyn, couldn't bear to watch when he rode like a man possessed.
Paddy had a gentle and compassionate side, too. He would think nothing of giving his last dollar to a friend, or to helping someone in need the best way he knew.
What really mattered to Paddy was, in his father's words, 'the genuine article'.
"If he didn't believe something was the truth, he would be pigheaded about it. The truth had to be revealed," Pad- dy snr said.
n Paddy's funeral will be held at the Karangi Lawn Cemetery on Tuesday at 11am.
He is sadly missed by his parents, Paddy and Lyn, his brother, Kris, his sisters Becky and Elina, their families, and his many friends.