Stories from the road: Kerry Hamer
Kerry Hamer, one of our longest-serving patrols, makes you smile just by speaking to him. His caring nature and can-do attitude assure you he’d never turn down a rescue.
Kerry Hamer has been rescuing folk up and down the west coast for nearly 50 years as an RACT patrol agent and a volunteer fireman. At the age of 79, he has no plans to slow down anytime soon.
Growing up in Strahan, Kerry was always a car lover. At 14, he left school to pursue a mechanic apprenticeship in Mount Lyell – unfortunately, to get a spot, it was a matter of knowing the right people, and at the time, he didn’t.
Instead, Kerry moved to Hobart to complete a panel-beating apprenticeship. He then returned to Strahan where all his dreams came true. Kerry married his childhood sweetheart, and finally became a mechanic when he built the Strahan service station.
“I don’t think we even had a roof yet when a bloke drove up and said ‘Fill ’er up!’,” Kerry tells Journeys.
In the early ‘70s, shortly after opening the station, Kerry got involved with the RACT. A patrol manager was visiting regional workshops showing mechanics how to – as Kerry put it – “break into cars” and taught him everything he needed to know
One of Kerry’s more memorable moments as a patrol involved a plane. While completing a scenic flight over Frenchmans Cap, the pilot experienced engine problems, prompting him to land on Lake Burbury. Luckily, this was a seaplane, and no-one was harmed – the pilot had Kerry’s number and asked if he could help get the plane back on the lake once the engine was fixed. As it turned out, unbogging the RACT service vehicle was considerably harder than the plane rescue.
Over the decades, Kerry has served those in need; rain, hail or shine, flames, lakes and roads, in the middle of nowhere or close to home. He and his late wife often offered hospitality to those rescued and even made some friendships along the way – many who still write to him.
Kerry extends a thank you to all those at RACT over the decades who have been determined to help members and non-members in need of rescuing, even if it has meant sending him out multiple days in a row to find stranded motorists.
But it’s us who should thank Kerry, a local legend, for always living our values, being a shoulder to lean on and helping when it matters most.