EVERY now and then you meet someone whose actions, deed and words of wisdom cut through more than most.
John Maher is one such person, a man who has dedicated his life to road safety after experiencing firstly his own close call, and then secondly, the tragic death of one of his teenage children.
It's every parent's worst nightmare that the young people we love and cherish more than anything else in this world can all too easily fall victim to the carnage that occurs all too frequently on our roads.
For John Maher and his family, that worrying thought became stark reality back in 1995 when 18-year-old Carmen died in a crash on the outskirts of Bendigo, not far from the family home.
Staring down the immense sorrow and pain that engulfed the Maher family in the aftermath, John found a way forward by seeking to do whatever he can to prevent his family's sadness and misfortune becoming a constant in other family's lives.
For more than two decades, John has volunteered his experiences to more than 450,000 young people, in the hope that these words and recollections might alter the course of life for some of these vulnerable youth.
Undoubtedly, it has, and no doubt, John and his family finds some solace in this.
There's a dedication at the start of the book that reads as follows:
Life does not always hand out roses, and this book is dedicated to:
Every parent who has lost a child in a car crash.
Every brave child who has lost a parent in a car crash.
Every brave child who has lost a brother or sister in a car crash.
Every brave grandparent who has lost a grandchild in a car crash.
Every brave grandchild who has lost a grandparent in a car crash.
Every brave partner who has lost their true love in a car crash.
Every brave friend who has lost a friend in a car crash.
Carmen's Legacy tackles those experiences in a manner you cannot ignore.
As John also says, road trauma is something we hear about every day.
It is always someone else's story - that is until it becomes your own.
John's book is aptly titled Carmen's Legacy, and it can be tough navigating your way through such brutal honesty and raw emotion, but it's also a compelling story of one man's refusal to let tragedy define his life in any way other than how he wants it to.
There's a place for Carmen's Legacy and its many powerful messages in all schools, sporting clubs and workplaces where there are lots of especially younger employees.
We commend John Maher, and his family, and hope their work continues to help many others in the community we share.
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