Something tragic happened in our Limestone Coast community this week. Four young men lost their lives in a terrible and unfortunate road accident, just outside of Penola.
They were on their way to work in the wee hours of Saturday morning, when the ute they were travelling in hit a tree and rolled. None of them survived.
It was sad and shocking. It rocked the entire forestry community, with a ripple effect to the rest of the Limestone Coast community, other parts of the country, and even further afield.
I was talking to a retired old forestry worker yesterday. This man is a real character who wears his heart on his sleeve. He's was a pine faller from way back and loved this industry. He was devastated at what had happened to these young blokes, commenting,
"What really got me, is that it happened in an industry I love to bits......these were young men just starting out in the industry."
It affected me the same. My Dad worked falling pines in the forest and also in the saw mill, in the town where I grew up.
Every single day of my schooling life, I rode the bus on pine plantation lined roads, and even worked in a timber mill myself for a couple of years.
My husband Brett, drives trucks, loading from pine chippers in the local forests. He's on the roads going to work also, at the same time these young men had thier accident.
An amazing suggestion by a local company, Merritts Logging, out of respect for the boys, was for people to place a hard hat, or hi vis vests to be left at our front doors on Monday.
I was so proud to see the response unfold on social media. It was such a stark reminder of how precious life is, and the amazing supportive community we have. To see people from Queensland, and even Los Angeles paying tribute was also amazing.
The day after the accident, the third Sunday in November, just happened to be World Road Traffic Victims commemoration day. Our town has a memorial in one of our local parks, and there was a gathering there on Sunday.
It is vital that we are all aware of the fatal five behavioural factors that lead to tragic vehicle accidents on our roads.
- not wearing seatbelts
- drink or drug driving
We are coming into one of the busiest times on the roads in the lead up to Christmas. The events of this week is a painful reminder to be patient and vigilant on the roads, and most of all, to never leave anthing unsaid and hug your loved ones tight.