The Southern Cross : December 09
Page 6 December 2009 The Southern Cross www.adelaide.catholic.org.au feature St Francis de Sales College in Mount Barker is pioneering a new mentoring program for boys aimed at helping them change their behavior and attitude to school and study. LINDY MCNAMARA speaks with the man who is inspiring these young boys through his own hero i c story. I t 's funny what flashes through your mind when you've just been shot 14 times and the spectre of death is looming. On May 3, 1994 this was the horrific reality for Senior Constable Derr i c k McManus from the SA Police Special Task and Rescue (STAR) Group. Sent to Nuriootpa to make an arrest, Derr i c k found himself in a hail of bullets -- 18 shots fired in five seconds to be exact. Fourteenhitthe target andashefellto the ground, Derrick saw the funny side of things and began cracking jokes in his head. As luck would have it, he fell with his feet facing the shooter. Training in the elite squad had taught him to fire back and find a safe position. "The only thing I could think about was how dumb it would be if I fired back and wereto shootmyselfinthefoot.Iwould never hear the end of it from the guys (in the Star Group)," he recalls. His plight was no laughing matter. For t h ree hours he lay on the floor with broken bones and severed arteries, bleeding to death. The thought of leaving his two young children and two older step children spurredonhis willto survive. He recalls the exact moment two hours and 45 minutes into the siege when he was lapsing in and out of consciousness. He thought he might die and he was losing his vision. Instead of things becoming blurry and grey as he expected, Derrick says he saw an "absolutely pristine white light". " W ell, that can mean a lot of things to different people. For me, Ijust thought I w a s n 't getting enough blood to my brain," he recalls. Fifteen years after the shooting, Derr i c k says the events and emotions of that day a re still pretty clear in his mind. By Jenny Brinkwort h Driving past the glorious gardens in the leafy suburb of Nor wood, it was easy to be lulled into thinking the world is a pretty good place. But a few minutes into an interview with Jesuit priest and peace activist F a t h e r John Dear, and the stark contrast with war- t o r n countries and the Third World breaks through the reverie. Gaoled for a peaceful protest inside an American airf o rce base, Fr Dear was released in the nick of time to make it to his speaking tour of Australia where he is determined to help establish a g r a s s roots peace movement. He admitted that it was no small task in a countr y where people were so comfortable with their lives and where the problems of the world seemed far away. Fr Dear is involved in what he describes as "life and death work", speaking out against violence, war, nuclear weapons and pover t y. This work has taken him to El Salvador, where he lived and worked in a refugee camp in 1985; to Guatemala, Nicaragua, Haiti, the Middle East, Colombia, and the Philippines; to Nor t h e r n Ireland where he lived and worked at a human rights centrefor ayear;andtoIraq, wherehe led a delegation of Nobel Peace Prize winners to witness the effects of the deadly sanctions on Iraqi childre n . He has been arrested more than 7 5 times in acts of non-violent civil disobedience for peace, and has o r ganised hundr eds of demonstrations against war and nuclear weapons at militar y bases a c r oss the countr y, as well as worked with Mother Te r esa and others to stop the death penalty. After the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre, Fr Dear s e r ved as a Red Cross chaplain, and became one of the coordinators of the chaplain program at the Family Assistance Centre. He worked with some 1500 family members who lost loved ones, as well as hundreds of f i r efighters and police of ficers, while at the same time, he spoke out against the US bombing of Afghanistan. Wanted: Shooting helps Derrick BARBECUE BONDING: The mentoring program run by Derrick McManus at St Francis de Sales College has been a winner, involving young boys in a program which promotes teamwork and good attitudes. Pictured from left, students Tim Larcombe, Carol Jare l l (counsellor/teacher), Casey Nicolls, Tavis Saunders, Joshua Kelly, Derrick, Adam Smith, Kenny Herbig and Jarrad Mason. Missing f rom the photo is Nick Bayly.