Saturday, 26 February 2011

Tribute to Paul Dunlop ~ the tragedy of the earthquake continues to unfold

Paul's death was reported in today's NZ Herald: 

And in this article of 25th February on the Stuff news site:
Paul Dunlop - quake victims

He had been assisting with the dismantling of the organ in the Durham Street Methodist Church at the time of the earthquake.

Dear Paul, what a tragic loss to those of us fortunate enough to have known him, even if only as patients.  Paul was a king among men: always a careful and caring professional and a pattern card of generosity and kindness; cultured besides, which seems unusual to me these days.  

Paul was our family optometrist and felt like one of 'our' people.  

When I first met him I was going through an especially difficult time;  although my appointment was for an eye examination he was aware of this and didn't brush it aside, but found a way to acknowledge my plight and offered encouragement.

On another occasion he gave me a pair of spectacle frames when I couldn't find a pair that I liked on the display racks and I asked him if he had any second hand ones.  "Well, as a matter of fact..." he had replied, and fetched out a pair very like my old ones which someone had come in with the day before.  A lens had been chipped and the owner had chosen new frames for her replacement.  The style of lens I liked would fit perfectly.  I offered to pay him for them, which he graciously declined saying with a twinkle, "They didn't cost me anything".  I'm wearing them now.  Tears behind the lenses.  This kindness was typical of him.

And no matter how busy he was he always made time for some personal exchange.  He and I always chatted about photography during my consultations, an interest we shared.

Reading through the comments added to the 'Stuff' article, many people who were patients valued him just as I continue to do, and relate their own stories of his great skill, kindliness and ability to engage on a personal level with each of them.  What an inspiration he remains!

Who can match him?  Sue, I never met you, but offer deepest condolences.  We too grieve.

In an news item published today it is revealed that engineers had deemed the Durham Street Methodist Church safe enough for workers to enter to work on removing the organ, and that 'safe paths' had been identified within the building for them to use. 
I find this helpful information.  My observation of Paul from a customer perspective was that care and precision were hallmarks of his personality, so I'm glad to know that safety considerations had been pursued even though the advice given turned out to be faulty.  Tragic none the less.

Later note - 22nd February 2014 - 3 years on: 
Josh Anderson, one of the men who survived the collapse of the church building, met his rescuer, John Abraham, again today:

Photo copied from the 'Stuff' website which noted 'photo supplied', I presume by family.  If there is any objection to it being included here, let me know and I will remove it. 

All my articles about the Christchurch earthquakes and aftermath can be found via the page linked to below, or at the upper right of this screen:

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