JEROME Pellazar bought a chainsaw only a few months ago to cut firewood for this winter.
On Friday night, when a workmate knocked at his Macarthur home and asked him to help clear a tree from the Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road, he did not hesitate in grabbing that chainsaw and going out with two other colleagues to do some hard work on a wet and windy night on their day off.
Mr Pellazar, 35, was one of three people killed in a road accident on Friday night when a car crashed into the tree he and his workmates were clearing from the road.
Helping out others, particularly those in the small local Filipino community, was second nature to him as he and other Filipino expatriates battled their way through the challenges of settling in a new country.
Mr Pellazar went with colleagues Amando Isig and Robert Seares, also Filipino expatriates, to clear the tree from the road, but only Mr Seares survived the night.
Mr Pellazar’s death leaves his widow Myla uncertain about her stay in Australia and also leaves Mr Isig’s family in the Philippines without its principal breadwinner.
Mr Pellazar’s younger brother Mark, 33, who worked with him on the large Alanvale dairy farm near Macarthur, said Mr Isig had been sending money back to provide for his mother and siblings.
He said his sister-in-law Myla was keen to stay in Australia and raise their 15-year-old and nine-year-old sons.
Mr Pellazar said the support he and his family had received from the local expatriate Filipino and wider south-west communities had reaffirmed the decision of his and his brother’s families to come to Australia to seek a better life.
“We love it here,” Mr Pellazar said.
“People are warm. They treat you the same.”
He said his and his late brother’s families had made big sacrifices in their battles to get a secure future for them and their children and hoped Friday’s tragedy would not put that future in peril.
Both his wife Sharon and his sister-in-law Myla work at the Midfield meatworks in Warrnambool and the families have children who attend local secondary and primary schools.
Mr Pellazar and his brother both came to Australia about a year ago to work on the Alanvale dairy farm.
They had both spent about seven years working on dairy farms at Invercargill on New Zealand’s south island and came to Australia in the hope of gaining permanent residency, a prospect that was more difficult in New Zealand.
Mr Pellazar said the two couples had all undertaken a two-year animal husbandry course in the Philippines after hearing there was strong demand for jobs in the New Zealand dairy industry.
He and his brother had been undertaking other tertiary studies but with their employment prospects bleak in their homeland, they switched to animal husbandry to get jobs in New Zealand.
Mr Pellazar said his brother was a responsible, fun-loving family man who had wanted to pass on his dirt bike riding skills to his two sons.