Truck drivers celebrate those who paved the path
MISSING Christmases, birthdays and other special occasions is all part and parcel of being a truck driver.
But without the work they do, Australia would grind to a halt.
Steven Manuel followed his father's footsteps into the transport industry and drives up to 6000kms in an average week on the roads, often through the wee hours of the morning.
He carried with him memories of his father, who has since passed away, as he rolled into Gatton on Saturday with more than 500 other vehicles for the fifteenth Lights on the Hill Memorial Convoy Weekend.
Drivers, as well as their families and friends, converged on the town for a day of festivities before reflecting on those who had paved the path and those sadly lost while doing their duty behind the wheel.
Another 35 names were added to the Lights on the Hill Truck and Coach Drivers Memorial at Lake Apex as a part of a memorial service on Sunday.
It was Mr Manuel's first time driving in the convoy and he enjoyed the show of pride shared with other road warriors.
The convoy travelled from both Withcott and Wacol before arriving at the Gatton Showgrounds on Saturday morning to a warm welcome from onlookers lining the roads.
"When I was a kid dad wasn't at home when I was growing up and I think about the same thing with me not being home," Mr Manuel said.
"There are a lot of people that are here who are driving trucks that sacrifice time with their families.
"I drive interstate and some of the conditions are pretty poor. Showers and toilets, they're few and far between. We don't get looked after."
A recent study released by Monash University in Melbourne revealed truck drivers are 13 times more likely to die at work than other Australians.
Mr Manuel believed that more education was needed for regular road users when it comes to dealing with heavy vehicles.
The Ipswich resident spent Sunday with his family, including two young sons Lauchlan and Declan, before hitting the road again on the public holiday on Monday.
"It's another day I miss with the family," he said.