Michael Sands, Innisfail QLD
When Michael started as a police liaison officer nearly 10 years ago, he didn't know about the Driver Reviver program until the then-site coordinator asked him to take over the role.
Now it’s one of his main passions: “It was a worthwhile thing to keep going, so I said `Yes’.”
And it shows: Innisfail Driver Reviver site was recently awarded the inaugural Allan McCormac Award for their contribution to the program over more than 20 years.
“I've always been a giving person; I can talk to all walks of life and I don't judge people. And all my volunteers are pretty much like that too. They never let you down. They're just wonderful people. You can ask them to be here at the drop of a hat and they're there.”
A senior police liaison officer, Michael, 64, has managed the Innisfail site and its 20 volunteers for eight years.
The site is a crucial pause point along a popular grey nomad caravan route to warmer northern climes.
“We have slowly started to get back a lot of the backpackers too, and they are amazed at Driver Reviver: nowhere else in the world has anything like it. They're just blown away.”
Michael firmly believes the program saves lives, preventing accidents and fatalities by providing drivers with a break, a cup of coffee, biscuits and a chance to refresh themselves, which all help combat fatigue.
“We can't say how many lives we save because we don’t know, but we know we do save lives – and you can't put a price on that.”
He urges motorists to “get out of the car, have a coffee, get the dog out for a run and a drink and relax for 30 minutes.”
Michael loves the interaction with the volunteers and is grateful for their consistent support and dedication.
He is considering the possibility of opening the Driver Reviver site more frequently throughout the year due to the overwhelmingly positive response from motorists and to further help reduce the road toll.