The Will who found a way

Special award winners Will Elrick and Rebecca Kirley last night. Picture: BEN EYLES
Special award winners Will Elrick and Rebecca Kirley last night. Picture: BEN EYLES

PEOPLE face challenges every day, but nothing quite like Will Elrick.

The Diploma of Agriculture graduate, 40, was one of four special award winners at yesterday’s National Environment Centre of TAFE NSW Riverina Institute graduation in Thurgoona.

But 15 years ago Mr Elrick was close to death after a head-on collision with a four-wheel-drive.

He was in a coma for six weeks and his leg had to be amputated.

“The leg is an inconvenience,” Mr Elrick quipped.

“It’s all the other things you don’t see that are the hardest to overcome.”

One of those things was learning how to talk again.

Another was teaching himself how to live with brain damage — not that you would guess it.

Mr Elrick was presented with the Frank Logues award for excellence in organic farming.

He said his decision to move from Sydney to study in Albury was “the best thing I’ve ever done”.

He will now study agro-ecology at Charles Sturt University for two years in the hope of doing land rehabilitation.

“I want to take it to the highest level I can,” Mr Elrick said.

Fellow award winner Rebecca Kirley decided she wanted to advance her career beyond administration.

With the backing of her work and young family the Mansfield Council administrator and mum-of-two started studying waste management.

The decision was a good one.

“As the job has evolved I’ve become more and more interested in waste,” Ms Kirley said.

“I got to a point where work was the same old and I decided I wanted to do something with my career beyond just an administration role.

“It will open a lot of doors for jobs that are at a higher levels.”

The Oustanding Student of the Year award went to Sandra Collins while the other special award for permaculture went to Betty Carasco.