News

Heartfelt message tugs at truckies’ hearts

NICE SURPRISE: Hay run truckies pose with Wendy Burtenshaw, Bo and Toby Gattera.
NICE SURPRISE: Hay run truckies pose with Wendy Burtenshaw, Bo and Toby Gattera. Darren Flanagan

TWO Charleville children have captured the hearts of truckies on the recent Burrumbuttock Hay run.

Hand-made especially for the drivers, their sign read: "Our daddy was a truckie. He watches over you on your travels… Keep safe. Thank you for helping our families. Love Bo and Toby."

Now that a picture of the kids holding the sign has gone viral, mum Lissy Gattera has explained the story behind it.

Lissy Gatera with Bo and Toby and the famous sign. Photo Andrew Messenger / Big Rigs
Lissy Gatera with Bo and Toby and the famous sign. Photo Andrew Messenger / Big Rigs Carly Morrissey

"He had been driving trucks since the day he could walk," Ms Gattera said.

Her husband had gone to work up near Emerald and was about 10km from his destination when his truck collided head on with a cattle truck.

"It killed him instantly," she said.

Since his death, she has had Warren's name placed on the Lights on the Hill Memorial Wall in Gatton.

The couple were married in 2003 on her brother's birthday - he was killed in nearly the same spot as her husband years earlier.

It has been four years since her husband's death and Ms Gattera is still deeply affected by the tragedy.

She's now bringing up Bo, 8, and Toby, 6, on her own and is doing it pretty tough.

Ms Gattera said the sign for the truckies was to let them know their help was appreciated.

"The sign came about to let them know we do care. We know what the lifestyle is like," she said.

"Their father would have been so proud."

Ms Gattera said Warren would have been one of the first to get involved in the hay run.

"That was the bloke he was."

The drought in Queensland is also a situation close to her heart.

She has family with farms in Emerald who are experiencing it, and she has a love for the land.

The Gattera family with dad Warren before he died.
The Gattera family with dad Warren before he died.

But thanks to one "snoopy person", this story doesn't end here.

Helen Schulz was following the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners on Facebook and saw the image Ms Gattera posted of Bo and Toby holding the heartfelt message for all the truckies involved.

Not resting until (hay run organiser) Brendan "Bumper" Farrell saw the image, the Newcastle woman tracked down Wendy Burtenshaw to ask if she could show Bumper the photo.

Helen said she got involved because she could see the family needed a bit of help.

"She's struggling. We needed to do something," she said.

"Their stories touched the truckies' hearts."

Mrs Burtenshaw heard Ms Gattera's story and secretly organised with her best friend Di for some of the hay runners to stop in on their way home, two weeks ago and surprise the kids.

While she isn't a Drought Angel herself, she was catering for the hay runners on the trip and managed to pick up some Drought Angel hampers for the family.

Mrs Burtenshaw, who lives on the Gold Coast, said the truckies just wanted to do something for the family.

Unfortunately, on the day they came, Lissy was unable to see the trucks pull in as she was hospitalised and later airlifted to Brisbane.

She said it was a bit of a scare and worried the children might lose another parent.

"I thank God I came out okay," she said.

Ms Gattera also thanked everyone who came to visit, especially the kind truckies who gave her children a ride in their trucks.

"The kids had a ball," she said.

Another truckie, who wasn't on the run but was in town, took the children to the hospital to say goodbye to their mum before she was airlifted.

Mrs Burtenshaw and her husband also visited.

"It was a massive day," she said.

"I cried all the way home."

ABOVE: The Gattera famly with dad Warren before he died. RIGHT: Brendan Bumper Farrell stopped by Charleville to meet Toby, 6, and Bo, 8, Gattera and gave them a signed hay run shirt.
ABOVE: The Gattera famly with dad Warren before he died. RIGHT: Brendan Bumper Farrell stopped by Charleville to meet Toby, 6, and Bo, 8, Gattera and gave them a signed hay run shirt. Contributed

The hay runners shouted the kids lunch and gave the family four Drought Angel hampers, along with four prepaid visas, four bags of dog food, a blow-up boxing kangaroo and one generous truckie gave them a $500 pre-paid fuel card.

And the next day more of the hay runners stopped by including Bumper himself who signed shirts for the kids and posed for photos.

Big Rigs

Topics:  burrumbuttock hay runners, drought, transport, truckies, trucks


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.