Bill Callaghan has had his fair share of life’s curve balls thrown at him, but this may come as a surprise to the many lives he has touched. The 88-year-old is nothing but a ray of sunshine and joy to those in the neighbourhood he has called home for the past 35 years.
When the Elwood council replaced the asphalt in Vautier Street with nature strips, Bill took it upon himself to buy a lawn mower and tend to all 50 nature strips in his street. Four years on, age is showing no signs of wearying him. You only need to stroll into the street with Bill to see how fondly he is regarded by his neighbours who greet him by name.
Vautier Street resident, Katie Brown, speaks of her admiration for her neighbour who spends his twilight years taking pride in the condition of their street:
Not wanting anything more than a friendly hello, Bill Callaghan can make a gloomy day feel happy with his enthusiastic greeting, ‘afternoon treasure‘. He is a true gentleman.
Bill’s extraordinary loyalty, determination and generosity of spirit have been a common theme throughout his life.
He was struck down by a train at age 25 while going about his job re-laying railway tracks. The accident left him hospitalised and unwell for some time, but did not deter him from returning the job in which he remained for 32 years.
Bill lost his wife to cancer when she was 45, leaving him to raise their five children. He’s also endured more pain than any parent should bear with the loss of two of his sons. But his own tragedies have not deterred him from bringing happiness to others.
A ballroom dancer in his heyday, Bill spent his much of his retirement years at his local retirees club teaching other people to dance – for free, of course. Not one for accolades, any donations of thanks that have come Bill’s way have been re-directed to organisations in need.
The world needs more people like Bill Callaghan. If you come across him in your travels be sure to say a cheery hello.