(Upwey Fire Brigade media release)
In early January 1995, Anthony, aged 15 and Travis, aged 13, were killed in a road accident in Cockatoo. Both boys were enthusiastic members of the Upwey Junior Fire Brigade, with Anthony being the Junior Captain at the time of the accident.
The boys were the sons of the senior brigade’s First Lieutenant Peter Hall and wife Liz. Their loss was a shock to many as they were very popular in the community and successful in brigade competitions throughout many areas of the State.
As a way of perpetuating the memory of the boys in a way that was beneficial to the community and a possible model for others, a fund was established to provide young adults of the volunteer fire service in the Dandenongs and local community the opportunity to participate in Level 1 Defensive Driving Training Courses supported by Murcott’s Driving Excellence and the Dandenong Ranges Community Bank Group.
The fund is managed by prominent members of the fire service and the community within the Dandenongs in conjunction with Upwey brigade.
Firefighter Taylor Ray is an 18-year-old member of Emerald brigade who received a driving course award last year. She recently wrote to Peter and Liz Hall outlining the benefits she gained from the course:
"Being a firefighter has resulted in me maturing relatively fast and I can say that I have experienced many situations many of my friends haven’t and maybe not ever experience. I have seen the devastation that has been generated as a result of structure and bushfires, but nothing compares with the heartache that is caused by car accidents.
"I cannot say I know how you feel. I have not lost people so close to me like you have, but I can say that I have been a part of what you have been through. Emergency service members who attend car accidents are affected to a certain level also.
"In my final weeks of Year 12, whilst taking part in my exams, I was called out to a car accident. This unfortunately turned out to be my first fatality. By attending the scene with CFA on that terrible day, I found myself going through the process of grief and recovery in the days, weeks and months after.
"I quite often still think about that day. Even though it was a horrible thing for all who were involved, I wanted to find something good out of that day. After many debriefs and talks with many people, it was the talks with the captain of my brigade to perhaps take what I saw and experienced on that day and spread the word that this does not need to happen again.
"I admire so much that you [Liz and Peter] are doing the same thing. I figure if I can share what I have been through with others, even if my story only touches one person, maybe then they will pass the message on about the importance of road safety.”
Taylor is clearly a strong advocate of the benefits of defensive driver education.
“As a P Plater myself, I know that as soon as I turn my car on and head out on to the road, I will always drive the safest I possibly can. The driving course I have taken part in because of you has enforced the importance of safe driving. I think it is so tragic that people’s lives have been lost in order for road users to take notice and drive safer on our roads.
"I think the message you’re spreading and what you are doing is beyond amazing. You have used your circumstances to educate people about road safety. I admire the fact that you are doing this and want you to know that your message has touched my life. And I know that the people I met when I did this course learned how to become safe drivers also.
"I will take what I have learned and continue to spread your message. I would like to sincerely thank you for the awesome opportunity of attending the defensive driving course and I know Anthony and Travis's legacy will live on strong and allow many drivers in the future to become educated about safe driving.”
Applications for this year’s allocation of free courses will be announced shortly.
Enquiries: Peter Marke – 97545555, 0427037839, email@example.com