21 September 2020
The day Shane “Spoony” Witherspoon arrived at BMC’s Braeside in 2016, he was taken on a tour of the Borefields, and couldn’t help but ask his new team mates, “How do you find your way around here?”.
With dirt roads, and no signage, Shane was determined to make the workplace safer, and dedicated his time to creating maps and road signs so people could find their way.
Last week, Shane made his own way back to Braeside, after 13 months spent recovering at his home in Moranbah following a devastating stroke last year.
His team mates, had a special surprise for him – a barbecue and a tour of the Borefields to see some new signage.
“Phil (McAuley) came to pick me up, and took me for a drive through the Borefields,” Shane said.
“When we got to one of the bores he said that one of those road signs looked a little crooked and we needed to get a photo.”
When Shane snapped the photo, he recognised some familiar faces and realised the road signs had new names – Witherspoon Way and Spoony’s Crossing.
“We got up to the crossing that I worked on last year, and bugger me, it was now called, Spoony’s Crossing,” Shane said.
“I tell you, I was stoked.”
Supervisor Phil McAuley said it was a testament to the legacy Shane has left at Braeside.
“He was always determined to make changes for the better,” Phil said.
“When he first arrived, he brought up the idea of the maps and road signs straight away.”
Not new to the industry, Shane has spent more than 20 years in Moranbah with his wife Rhonda, and has worked across our BMA Peak Downs and Saraji Mines, and BMC’s Braeside as a boilermaker, coordinator, planner, supervisor and project manager.
He said getting back to site for a visit had brightened his spirits on his long road to recovery.
Still paralysed on his right side, and in his own words, “getting around a little bit slower”, Shane is setting his sights on being able to drive his prized commodore within two years, and making more visits to Braeside.
“I miss so much at Braeside, but being able to see everyone, it was incredible,” he said.
Shane’s Braeside team members Aaron Borg and Phil McAuley also presented him with copies of the road signs for him to place up at home.
“They look terrific, I’ve put them up in my mancave,” Shane said.
“I tell you, my heart is beating out of my chest.”