IAN Pettit only intended to stay in Leeton for a few years, but the charm of the town once again worked its magic.
Mr Pettit has now lived in Leeton for 17 years. His wife Renae was born and bred in Leeton. The pair met on a blind date in Sydney, where Mr Pettit hails from.
“We lived together for a while in Sydney, but once we had children we came to Leeton,” he said. “We only intended to stay in Leeton for a few years, but have found it the perfect place to raise children and never looked back.
“My wife's family have always made us feel so welcome, being a great support for our kids and I am so lucky to have met Renae in Sydney when I did.”
The pair have three sons – Jordie, 23, Nicholas, 20 and Matthew, 18. Mr Pettit has worked mainly at St Francis College in Leeton, with a short period also teaching at St Joseph’s Primary School.
In Sydney he worked as a marketing consultant for an international travel company, a national human resources provider, ending up at the NSW state manager before coming to Leeton. Mr Pettit said it was hard to single out just one thing when it came to why he loved living in Leeton.
“Really, it is up to us as individuals to look for the positive in any community, but Leeton has so much to offer,” he said. “My sons all loved sport, so there is so much to offer there.
“There are also tons of great cultural activities, such as dance. A very good friend of mine provides a great opportunity for his children to attend a local dance academy, but there are tonnes of art workshops, singing groups, cadets, and so on.”
Mr Pettit has recently enjoyed working with the Afghani population in Leeton, initially teaching English, before ultimately becoming friends with many of the men.
“I have been fortunate in developing a life-long friendship with one of the men in particular and, although he has now moved to Sydney and hopes to bring his wife to Australia, I have learned to understand the terrible conditions people in other countries have to put up with,” he said. “We are so lucky in Australia.”
Mr Pettit is also involved with the Riverina Men's Choir, organising Leeton’s White Ribbon Day event and much more. He believed Leeton was destined for great things.
“So many established major businesses are doing well,” Mr Pettit said. “Sure there will be up and down times with the economy and rainfall patterns, but I can only see growth.
“I have great confidence people in town will continue to reinvent their services. I see positive growth, particularly as city living continues to become so unrealistically expensive.”