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Journeys : RACT MNJ June July 2010
Member in focus Opinion Rebecca Parsey Emma aged 16, wants to be a marine biologist; Mickael aged 32 is a dedicated father; people flock to him as he is so full of life; Gabriel aged 3, a vibrant son who gives meaning to his parents' lives; Dale aged 34, loves his family and music and is about to start a new chapter in his life; Tim aged 46, just got his dream job and life couldn't be better; Sam aged 14, high school student and great cricketer ... These people are all deceased! They are just six representatives of the 1500 people who have become victims of Tasmanian roads in the last 25 years. You can see what they look like by visiting the Facebook group page Road Victims Tasmania - The Faces. Real people, real faces, real tributes and real lives, just like ours. Now gone! It was the deaths of three of my family members in separate accidents on Tasmanian roads that led me to establish Road Victims Tasmania -- The Faces. The aim is to pay tribute to all 1500 people who have died due to road accidents in our state. The page allows people to post photos of deceased road victims from Tasmania and let them live on, beyond a statistic within a database. When you open up the page and click on the photos section, your screen is filled with faces of people you may even know -- or perhaps you have someone you might like to add there yourself. The Facebook group of nearly fifteen thousand members is the start and continuation of volunteer work carried out by a small project team -- myself, Nicole Guise, Luke Smart and Philip Chick. Each one of us has the same goal -- to design and build identical physical memorials in each major tow n of Tasmania. They will be places where anybody is welcome to sit, be aware, reflect -- and to try to understand how quickly someone's life can change when it's not necessary. No one should have to go through the pain that the people who are left behind endure. It's not just one life that's lost -- it's the families and best friends who are left to try and comprehend what has happened and why. One minute they kiss their child goodbye in the mor ning as they leave for school, and the next minute, the police are on the doorstep, holding back the lump in their throat, delivering the message that a child has been killed in a car accident and won't be coming home. Lives are horrendously affected and the ripples that run through the community from the after maths are never forgotten. So m any people feel this unwanted pain -- but you may not know Rod Viney is an organiser for the Australian Education Union. He lives at Don with his wife, Elizabeth, step-son Alastair and sons, Gus and Theo. Rod has been a RACT member since 1969. Why did you join the RACT? My dad was a member and when I got my licence and my ow n vehicle, he suggested that it would be handy to join, especially since my first vehicle was an old Mini that I bought to travel dow n to uni in Hobart from the coast. What's the most memorable time you've been helped by being part of the RACT? Probably once when I dragged a wheel into a gutter when I was trying to back into a driveway late at night. I was stranded there on the kerb. I've used it a bit over the years for the usual things, flat battery, locked the keys in the car, that sort of thing. Tell me about your current car. Our family car is a Honda Odyssey, a people-mover. It's fantastic, I love it! It is wonderful to drive and so versatile. One day you can use it as a people-mover for the family and the next you can lie all the seats down and make it into a big station wagon. Do you have any stickers on your car? I have a 40-year R ACT membership sticker that I proudly display. I also have a 'Teachers make a Difference' sticker. My wife is a teacher and I was a teacher for 30 years before I became an organiser with the union. What is your biggest motoring gripe? My gripe, well it is probably more than a gripe, is that I get so angry when I see stories about accidents that involve blatant speed, alcohol and people not wearing seatbelts. Those people are so selfish, they don't think about the effect it has on the people that love them and on the emergency ser vices workers. What is your most precious material possession? If I could, I would grab the kids' hand-held computer games and DVDs that are really special to them, along with their favourite toys, especially Gus's 4x4 Rubik Cube. The only thing of mine that I would grab is the Olympic torch I carried when I ran a leg of the relay for the Sydney Olympics. What is your most memorable holiday moment? I went to Europe for the first time in 1993 and travelled on my ow n, backpacking and hostelling. After I got married in 1998, we went together to some of the same places and it was so special to share them with Elizabeth. That was really memorable. Last year, we went back again with Gus and Theo and it was lovely to share those things as a family, 10 years later. Where do you plan to spend your next holiday? We are going to drive up to Queensland at Christmas and then go camping with Elizabeth's Queensland relatives to Brunswick Heads in norther n New South Wales. In our community 12 June / July 2010
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