Memories of his bushfire firefighter father

January 8, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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In 1968, David Eley was three years old when his father lost his life battling bushfires. Now he is the chef at Sydney’s Our Big Kitchen supervising the food being prepared for today’s firefighters.

Laya Slavin, Rachel Sharma, David Eley, Rabbi Dov Slavin and Dave Sharma

Tribute was paid to David Eley at the Jewish community kitchen before a packed house which included Federal MP David Sharma and his family, Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos and  Mary-Lou Jarvis.

OBK CEO Rabbi Dr Dovic Slavin said: “The image of a toddler receiving his late Dad’s medal moved us all to tears reminding us what happened just over 50 years to the fires of Oct 1968 when Greg Eley a young volunteer firefighter lost his life leaving behind a pregnant wife and their young son David.  Today David at 53 is the Chef at OBK.”

Children bake at OBK

David Eley told J-Wire: “It feels good and is very empowering to now be able to help others. It reminds me of my late father. I feel very blessed to be part of an organisation that helps the needy every day.”

The rabbi recounted the moving footage of Harvey Keaton, aged 19 months, who wore a uniform and sucked on his dummy as he received his father’s posthumous medal at his dad’s funeral near Sydney.

Muslim women helping out at Our Big Kitchen

He also spoke about Geoffrey Keaton, a volunteer firefighter who left a pregnant wife when he was killed while on duty recently.

Rabbi Slavin added: “This needs to be our response – to continue to help all in need.”


One Response to “Memories of his bushfire firefighter father”
  1. Joanna Kalowski says:

    JWire is an unmissable source of news: that’s an old story. But it’s also regularly a source of hope and optimism. Thank you for this issue. The wonderful tribute to Rabbi Fox, the description of Dr Landau’s life work and the story about David Eley were all excellent. And to cap it all, the photo of smiling Muslim women in OBK, another silent marker of the contribution Rabbi Dovid and Laya Slovin make to life in Australia. Thank you Henry!

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