Son pays tribute to his truckie dad's heroic actions
JOSH Ryan considers himself lucky to have been able to tell his father Leo how much he loved and respected him just days before he was killed in a tragic highway crash.
That respect only grew when Josh found out how his dad had heroically sacrificed his own safety to avoid colliding with a family car with children inside.
The 56-year-old Kingsthorpe grandfather died after the fully laden cement truck he was driving rolled about 5km east of Oakey on November 27.
Josh said his father was driving to a job at Oakey when he suddenly came across traffic banked up from an earlier highway crash.
"My old man just didn't have time to react so instead of killing 10 people with a concrete truck he swerved to miss them," Josh said.
"A lady in front had kids in the car.
"She said if he didn't do what he did he would have killed them.
"When you are in a truck you don't have the time to pull up like you do when you are in a car."
He said his dad's action publicly proved Leo to be the hero Josh already knew he was.
Leo had raised Josh and his siblings Dean and Katie since their mother Kathy Ryan died of cancer 19 years ago.
"He never shied away from it though.
"He knew what he had to do and he just did it.
"He sacrificed a lot of the things he wanted to do."
Leo had the pleasure of celebrating his son Josh's wedding the weekend before his fatal crash.
"When I had my speech I got to say a lot of things I wanted to say to him.
"It was our last big get-together.
"Most people don't get that chance."
Josh said he would remember his dad as an easy-going bloke who loved his grandchildren.
"Everyone knew him by his laugh.
"He was a really happy, cheery, Santa Claus sort of fellow."
Support has been plentiful since Leo's death.
"People have been flooding me and the family.
"The support has been unreal."
Leo's funeral will cap off what has been an emotionally turbulent time for Josh and his family.
On Monday, the 29-year-old found out his wife Jaime-Lea was pregnant.
Family and friends wishing to pay their respects to Leo are welcome to attend Friday's service at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church from 10am.