Boy hands out iceblocks to weary firies
THIS 12-year-old NSW boy is a true Aussie legend.
On Tuesday afternoon, Will Stothard was at his Kurri Kurri home with his mum Leah when they noticed smoke and flames coming from the bush about a block from the house.
Unsure if the flames were due to backburning or something more serious, the pair took a drive around the neighbourhood and noticed about seven or eight fire crews battling the deliberately lit blaze.
Watching the exhausted firies work, Will felt he had to do something to help.
"You could just see they were really exhausted, it was actually awful to see," Leah told news.com.au.
"Will just said, 'we could take them some water'. I told him we didn't have enough cold water to bring them and he said 'what about all those Zooper Doopers in the freezer?'."
Leah said Will went home, bundled up as many of the iceblocks as he could and did the block offering the treats to grateful firies along the way.
"He was just walking along and asking them if they wanted them, and you could see how grateful they were," she said.
Will's act of kindness touched the local rural fire service volunteers so much they took to Facebook last night to express their gratitude.
"Yesterday we had a truly touching moment while fighting the Kurri Kurri fire," a post to the North Rothbury Rural Fire Brigade read.
"Late in the afternoon we were refilling our tanker at the entrance to the cemetery on Hospital Road and the weary crew were sitting in the gutter having a rest and cooling down.
"Suddenly a well-mannered local boy walked up, arms full of icy cold Zooper Doopers and asks 'would you guys like an ice block?' Would we ever ... oh yes."
The firefighters were so grateful they shared the post in the hope their message of thanks would get back to Will.
"It was truly just what we needed to pick us all up a little after slogging it out for hours in the heat. To the young man, I hope this gets back to you somehow, thank you so much we all really appreciate what you did," they said.
"It may have seemed a small token but you have no idea how we appreciated it."
In only a couple of hours the message did manage to make its way to an overwhelmed Will.
"We saw the post last night and commented, and there were about six comments, then we wake up this morning and there's thousands!" Leah said.
The post has touched thousands of Australians, garnering more than 5000 likes and 3000 shares.
In the thousands of comments, people have praised Will as "a true Aussie hero" and credited his parents for raising such a thoughtful and kind young man. Some pointed out it was a shame Will was too late to qualify for Australian of the Year.
Will was too overwhelmed to speak with news.com.au, but happily posed for a photo to help admirers put a face to the character who has become a little Aussie legend.
His proud mum said he would have posed with a couple of Zooper Doopers, but the freezer was cleared after Tuesday's efforts.
Leah said she was incredibly proud of her boy, and of the community that was rallying around him. She also said other children in the area had been carrying out similar good deeds to help out the firies.
"When you live in a tiny community, people just get in and help each other out," she said.
"Will's a really, really good boy and he's clearly picked that up. You don't do it for the recognition, you do it for the community."