Grieving dad on a mission to save lives

by admin on July 14th, 2018

filed under 南京夜网

LIFE-SAVER: John Maher is determined to spare other families the heartbreak his own experienced after the death of his daughter, Carmen, in a car crash.
Nanjing Night Net

CARMEN Maher was making a simple trip she had completed hundreds of times before.

This time, on November 18 1995, the 18-year-old fell asleep at the wheel, ran off the road at 100km/hand struck a tree.

John Maher and his wife, Ange, were out the front of their Bendigo home putting things in the car when a vehicle pulled up.

John turned around expecting it to be Carmen. Instead it was a young policeman.He said Carmen was dead.

Carmen Maher

“I couldn’t comprehend what I had just been told. It’s just too much to take in,” John said.“Being told you have lost a child is so final, so dramatic and it leaves you with that empty feeling.”

For two years after his daughter’s death John was left feeling sorry for himself. Then a tragedy struck another family John did not know.

“There were four young boys killed in crash. That was a catalyst for me to go and do something about it,” hesaid.

“I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I started going to schools and the telling the students how we lost a Carmen and telling them if they do this …what they will do to their family.

“How their family will have to try and live without the most important person in the world. How the family will have to try to live without them for the rest of their lives.”

John has been to hundreds of schools spreading Carmen’s message. He tells them about the beautiful, vivacious daughter. He shows them the picture that he keeps on his keyring and he tells of the heartbreak and guilt Carmen’s older sister Michelle felt.

Michelle was the last person to see Carmen that morning. Carmen was tired and her head was rested on the bench.

Michelle said if she turned the radio up and wound the windows down she’d be OK.

For a while Michelle did the school talks with John, but soon it became too much. For John it’s something his will keep doing until the road toll hits zero.

“I started Carmen’s Road Safety campaign. Every time I look into the eyes of the school students I see them looking back at me and soaking up Carmen’s story,” John said.“I know when these students leave my road safety presentation they are safer drivers on the road.

“They understand what we have lost and they understand what their families will lose should they kill themselves in a car crash.”

Carmen’s Road Safety Presentation page has close to 20,000 followers. School students message John on that page.The most heartbreaking messages come at 1am in the morning.

Students who had lost their loved ones pour their heart out to John and tell him how much Carmen’s story has resonated with them.

The road toll horrifies John. He can’t believe it is rising.He saidroad authorities need to hone in on key contributing factors including drugs, distraction and fatigue.

The safety presentations given John a purpose –they make him feel that Carmen’s death was not in vain.

“Carmen has a job to do, and that’s to make sure that everyone is a safe road user,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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