On Monday, this week, Parklands lost one of its great founders.
I received the news in a phone call from our Pastor Mike Warman. He simply said “Greg Radke has drowned in a dam while doing excavation work to help his neighbour”. This was so typical of Greg. Ps Mike did not know much more than that, and we I still don’t know the specific details other than he was in some way trapped in the machine when it tipped over in the dam.
Greg was a loving, caring, gentle, generous and sincere man.
My first contact with him was in Parklands Church in 1999. I had just arrived at from my School at Calvary, Townsville. The Pastor, Rod Jobe, announced that I was here to start a school, and if there was anyone who could help, please make contact with me. That was the day I received the now famous “$10 note and the short note from an elderly lady in the Church”. It still hangs on the wall of my office to remind me of the humble beginnings of the school, and of the miracle supply as we seek to do God’s purpose in our daily tasks.
The next week, Greg Radke searched me out in church and asked how it was all progressing. I told him of a few of the immediate tasks I was starting on, but stressed that if we could not buy the large block of land next to the Church, we would have no basis on which to build a school. To that he said “Let me help you. What do you need?”
I told him that the Pastor and I would be meeting with the owner of the land during the week and I would keep him informed. In that meeting, the owner was accepting of the idea that we would seek to buy his land, but we needed a starting point which we could manage, and he needed immediate cash for his retirement. We agreed on $35,000 up front payment, non-refundable, and then a period of 3 years before full payment. If this final payment was not made, then all would return to the owner, and we would have nothing.
The paying off of that large commitment is another miracle story when all seemed lost, and then I met with an old school mate who was the Schooling Banker for Westpac.
For the deposit, Greg immediately stepped up with a very generous gift to the school, and using those funds, we were able to secure the land at the initial starting agreement.
Greg then accepted the role of a founding Board Member of the school, and held that role for the first 5 years of the school, and with his various contacts and equipment, was able to help us and fund us in the tidy up of the new property that has become the School.
He was a wonderful friend and supporter. He never wanted the lime light, but I knew he always had my back.
In recent times, we named the second sports oval in his honour, and we will always remember him as one of the key persons who founded Parklands Christian College.
It is a time of sadness for all who knew him, but we will meet again in the Resurrection, which is that great hope of all who place their trust in Jesus Christ.
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