A memorial service for truck drivers who lost their lives on the job was recently held at the Alexandra Truck, Rod and Ute Show.
The service was conceived by family members of the drivers, show organisers and the UnitingCare agency Creative Ministries Network (CMN).
Family Support Coordinator Bette Phillips said she approached the Alexandra Truck, Rod and Ute Show last year to include the service in their show weekend.
“Since around 2000 we’ve noticed a steady increase in the number of family and widows who have made connection to the grief support service we offer.
“This was mostly women who have lost husbands or sons in truck accidents.
“Over the last few years I’ve been thinking about the need to have a place in Victoria where families could gather together and meet each other and perhaps relieve some of the feelings of isolation,” Ms Phillips said.
This year was the first service in Victoria. It will become an annual part of the show in the future.
During the service, conducted by Rev Paul Creasey, two participants in the work related grief support program spoke about their experiences of losing loved ones and around the theme of ‘The hidden side of fatalities’ within the industry.
“CMN has noticed that a number of the people who participate in our grief programs have lost someone due to a heart attack,” Ms Phillips said.
“They consider work stress and lack of access to a good diet was partially responsible for the deaths.
“Even in places along the roads where healthier foods are available, drivers often go for fat options as they are pressed for time and can eat it quickly on the run.”
Stressful and unhealthy lifestyles along with the dangers of fatigue and road accidents are constant concerns for drivers and their families.