Traffic Offenders Program (TOP) Inc. - Testimonials
The following testimonials for our Program have been made by past participants and attendees.
A Recent Participant
Dear Mr. Graham Symes,
I would like to thank you for your extraordinary work for the community in organising and promoting the Traffic Offenders Program. The course was particularly broad and efficiently run. Without your determined efforts fools like me would not have a second chance. While I am yet to receive a conviction I know that the TOP will put me in better stead when receiving my penalty.
I know that I won't be receiving a section 10, but at least I now know why. I am currently studying law and while I knew drink driving was a crime and how inconceivably immoral an ac it is, now I know just how incredibly ignorant I was to the far-reaching and devastating effects which rip through the community.
One week after finishing the course I was unlucky enough to be witness to an 'accident' of a drunk, provisional licensed driver who had been dragging another car and had lost control and hit a telegraph pole. Emergency services arrived and cut away the car, the driver had been crushed over onto the passenger seat. It was all the more terrifying knowing that no longer was I sitting at the community hall watching a screen but rather standing over a youth of a very tight-knit community. He was taken away from my semi-rural home town by the Westpac helicopter in the early hours of the morning. He died of severe spinal injuries later that day.
This story is no doubt is all too common to you. I thank you again for your determination and effort. Having spoken to many people attending they appreciated your work and each night would come away that little bit wiser - perhaps even seeing it from your eyes.
Kindest Regards Jack (name/address supplied)
A Thankful Mum
Dear Mr. Symes,
Thankyou so much for your wonderful program. I am so glad that as a mother I got to have this insight into what you do. I wish that more families could get this insight too. I know my son got a lot out of this course - he has spoken to me on depths that he has not for a long time.
After the last 2 presentations - Ambulance and Police, he said to me that he felt that these videos and talks should be given to people and people made aware before they got their licence. I also got a lot out of the course - some of your speakers were mesmerising.
I hope you don't mind but I have advised certain programs in the media - 'The John Laws show - 2UE, John Stanley - 2UE and A Current Affair - Ray Martin', of your program and what a wonderful service you do for the community. (my letter to the media)
Thankyou and Congratulations Sincerely
Pam (name and address supplied)
A Thankful Mum
Dear Mr. Ray Martin Mr. John Stanley Mr. John Laws,
Just a note to let you know of a wonderful program I have become aware of because of my 19 year old son. I was going to call your program but thought I could explain it better in a letter.
The program (you may have heard of it) is called T.O.P. - Traffic Offenders Program. It is for people who have already been to court, have lost or will lose their licence for drink driving, speeding, reckless driving etc., and who will be sentenced after attending the program at another court hearing. It is run (and started) by an Ambulance Officer - Mr. Graham Symes. The course runs over 7 sessions for 2 hours once a week.
After every session the offenders must do an assignment relating to that session, and hand it to Graham the following week. The culmination of the assignments go to the Judge/Magistrate on the return to court.
All of the people concerned, including Graham are there on a voluntary basis to educate these offenders. The community centre hall was full most of the time. Most of the offenders are there alone but I got this incredible insight into what they do there, as I rang and spoke to Graham before my son's program started and he invited me to attend. I am so glad I did, otherwise I would never have known fully, as, being 19, my son would not have related fully what was discussed.
One of the wonderful 2 hour sessions - on Spinal Injury Prevention, was given by a fantastic young man by the name of Craig Cannane. He is a paraplegic - a motor bike accident when he was about 16. He was a fantastic inspirational speaker who spoke so honestly and openly about the accident, and what happened to him afterwards. He is now 25 (I think), has 2 children, & he is hoping to represent Australia in wheelchair Basketball in the Olympics next year.
Another exceptional speaker was Senior Sergeant Jim Prendergast. He has a very interesting background and had everyone in the hall in the palm of his hand the way he spoke. He had a way of making everyone in the meeting feel very special and worthwhile, spoke with such a down-to-earth manner, yet you could feel the respect in the room.
My son has gained an enormous amount from this course - I have seen an awareness grow through the weeks. The last two presentations he attended were 'Ambulance' and 'Police' which showed graphic videos of accidents - so often car loads of young people - dead.
These graphic videos really affected him and should be shown to people before they get to the point these offenders were.
I just wanted to let you know about the program as I believe this is the only one as it was started by this one man. As we all know, we are losing far too many of our young people (particularly young men) to road accidents. Graham Symes is an older man who still works as an Ambulance Officer.
Thanking you Yours sincerely
Pam (name and address supplied)
Thanks RSL for TOP money
Blacktown City Sun - January 2003 (Letter to the Editor)
I CONGRATULATE the Blacktown RSL for its $20,000 towards the continuance of the traffic offenders program (TOP).
Quite some time ago, I attended the program (as a spectator, not offender) to see how the program was run and how effective it actually was.
Offenders ranged from speeders to drink drivers. I was extremely impressed with the professional delivery of the program and, as the meetings progressed from week to week, it was fantastic to see that attitudes were changing.
I believe that the program works without doubt. The initiative of the paramedic who started the program and his commitment to the program is deserving of special mention.
I cannot recall his name but I conclude in saying that if he has not been awarded a citation for community service or higher than he certainly should be in the very near future.
If there were a way to donate some money to the cause, I certainly would and I would hope that other citizens would to keep this very important program continuing indefinitely.
To those who run the program, "Well done!" - a great number of lives have been saved by your efforts and many more will be saved in the future.