When news reached the Narangba community that their beloved ‘Parcel Postie Laurie’ had passed away on May 16 at age 68, letterboxes were decorated with navy ribbons in loving memory of the man who gave so much to his community.
Laurence Kenneth ‘Laurie’ Menadue, formerly of Bowen, moved to Narangba in 2007 after meeting his wife, Heatherlee. Securing a parcel delivery driver job at the Burpengary Australia Post Delivery Centre, ‘Parcel Postie Laurie’ quickly became a regular figure on Narangba streets, with his trademark ‘toot-toot’ of the horn soon recognisable not only to residents but local dogs, who would rush to meet him; eager to receive a doggy snack while their owner signed for the delivery.
Laurie’s daughter Jody, who accompanied him on his run, saw firsthand the impact that her father’s unassuming, genuine nature had on the community.
“Dad would say to me, ‘It doesn’t matter if you’re having a bad day yourself. Leave all that in the van and treat others how you’d like to be treated, because how you treat them might make all the difference to their day.’”
Making a difference became Laurie’s mission after he was diagnosed with melanoma in 2015. Eager to educate others on the importance of regular skins checks and early detection, Laurie would share his story while making deliveries, drawing strength from the stories people shared in return.
“Dad saw the community as his support group and network, and after his diagnosis he told me that he was going to use his run as a platform. He printed out handouts explaining what had happened to him, and he’d say to people, ‘Have a read or don’t have read, but please get yourself checked.’
“I’ve had a few people say to me that because of Dad they did go and have a skin check, and as a result they’ve had cancers removed. That’s really impressive from one man.”
In February, Laurie was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma (or Stage IV melanoma) which devastatingly has no cure, only life-prolonging treatments. Discussing his funeral arrangements with family, Laurie was once again thinking of others.
“Because we gave treats to all the dogs on the run, I said to Dad, ‘Instead of flowers, do you want to maybe collect money to donate to the RSPCA?’ He said straight-out that he wanted any money collected to go towards helping a child at Narangba Valley State School (NVSS) who is in need of assistance.
Nicknamed ‘Knuckles’ due to his willingness to give fist bumps to children at the door, and receiving looks of awe normally reserved for Santa when handing out parcels, Laurie loved watching the local youngsters grow up, and visiting the school the majority attended, Narangba Valley State School (NVSS).
“Dad and I would go into NVSS every day, whether to deliver a little parcel or half a van of scholastic books, and the ladies in the office there loved him. They’d give him cheek and he’d give it back to them, and at Christmas time they’d give him a big hamper. It was amazing to see just how much they thought of him, and how much they acknowledged the job he did.”
Upon Laurie’s passing his wish was granted, and so far over $400.00 has been collected for NVSS students in need.
NVSS Principal, Lorna Cogle, said, “It is difficult to find the words to express our gratitude for this wonderful gesture. Laurie was loved by our entire school community. We valued his professionalism, commitment to our school, sense of humour and generous spirit, and this donation will enable students in need to access a full education.”
NVSS teacher, Kylie Bocking, initiated the #gonavyforlaurie ribbon tribute, not only in acknowledgement of Laurie’s standing in the community, but in honour of his service in the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Airforce (1966 to 1986).
“Laurie became the family Narangbarians chose,” Kylie said. “He visited so many people each and every day, and in lots of cases Laurie knew more about us than our actual families.
“Placing ribbons on letterboxes was an opportunity for the community to join together and support each other, and to show Laurie’s family how much he meant to us all.”
Reflecting on the outpouring of affection for ‘Parcel Postie Laurie’, Jody said, “It’s just amazing that your humble old postie, who took the time for not even a five minute chat, managed to touch the lives of everyone he met. It makes me so proud that everyone thought as much of him as I did, and I was lucky enough to call him Dad.”
If you would like to make a donation in Laurie’s memory, please contact Jody on 0439 745 560 or Heatherlee on 0432 368 175.