Friends, family and comrades say farewell to Norman Olsen at a touching service at tweed Heads Crematorium on Friday morning.
Friends, family and comrades say farewell to Norman Olsen at a touching service at tweed Heads Crematorium on Friday morning. Daniel McKenzie

Hero’s farewell for much-loved veteran

A LIGHT sprinkling of autumn rain fell as friends, family and comrades said their final goodbye to good Samaritan Norman Olsen at a touching service at Tweed Heads Crematorium on Friday.

Flanked by Mr Olsen’s brothers-in-arms, family and friends paid homage to the Vietnam veteran who tragically lost his life while coming to the aid of a woman in distress at Toowoomba on February 21.

Over the Rainbow rang throughout the chapel as Mr Olsen’s coffin – draped in an Australian flag, flowers and topped with a can of VB – captured the poignancy of the service and served as a reminder of a life tragically lost.

Mr Olsen, 65, from Tweed Heads, died from head injuries sustained on Bridge St at Wilsonton, Toowoomba, after going to the aid of a woman in a roadside domestic disturbance.

Showing bravery by intervening, Mr Olsen was allegedly shoved in the chest by the woman’s ex-partner, James Callow, 22, causing him to fall back on the road and fatally hit his head.

For those who knew MrOlsen, the intervention captured the character of a man who was loved and respected by all.

His wife of 15 years, Isabella, provided a reflection of the husband who was her “soulmate”.

“You are my forever love and my heart is complete with the love we share,” celebrant Tony McLeod read out on Mrs Olsen’s behalf.

“You are with me always, in a smile, touch, feeling or a moment we share, and if everyone suddenly left me, I’d still know you as my best friend. In your own special way, you fill my heart and my life with wondrous joy.”

Mourners gather prior to Friday morning’s service to farewell Mr Olsen.
Mourners gather prior to Friday morning’s service to farewell Mr Olsen. Daniel McKenzie

Daughter Kate Lowe offered thoughts from a poem, detailing her love for her father and the loss felt by all.

“In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same,” Mrs Lowe said.

“Your love is still our guide, while we can’t see you, you’re always by our side.”

About 80 mourners, including Vietnam veterans and Tweed Heads RSL sub-branch representatives, remembered their “brother” with a touching tribute in an ultimate mark of respect.

Mr Olsen’s brother, Jim Olsen, spoke touchingly of a brother he’d looked up to.

“We’ve lost a good man for all the wrong reasons, so love him, cherish him and keep him in your hearts,” he said.

“He lost his life doing the right thing and for giving his life, he saved a life. You’re my hero, bro.”

In a final farewell, as mourners looked to the sky to remember their hero, the coffin was draped in poppies while the Last Post rang out one last time for another fallen soldier.

Callow will face manslaughter charges in Toowoomba Magistrates Court on April 27.



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