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    SPREADING THE WORD: Gavin Rogers hopes to turn heads and spark conversation by painting his bulldozer bright blue in recognition of mental health organisation Beyond Blue.

Gavin Rogers turning heads for health

By Dylan De Jong

An ‘electric blue’ bulldozer travelling down the Hume Highway is bound to turn a few heads. But that is exactly the point.   

Former Horsham resident Gavin Rogers painted his caterpillar D6 dozer and put it on the back of a truck to make a 3500km round trip to Brisbane and back to Melbourne – all for mental health awareness. 

Mr Rogers was keen to raise money for Beyond Blue with a focus on mental health in the construction industry.   

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He said his experience seeing his brother Nigel grappling with serious depression inspired him to make a difference. 

“The main driver was helping Nigel through a tough time,” he said. 

“He got into a pretty dark place. I was lucky enough to help him through that and now we continue on the journey of life together. 

“I just wanted to create some awareness on the ground and get a conversation started.”

Mr Rogers’ machinery hire company GR Dirtworx teamed up with heavy machinery auctioneers Ritchie Brothers and Natik to help transport the dozer to Brisbane.  

In late September, the dozer was transported back to its home base in Melbourne after making pitstops in Newcastle and south of Albury.  

“We just want to get people talking about mental health,” Mr Rogers said.

“We’ve had some pretty good feedback over the past two weeks – it’s sparking a lot of conversations with people I don’t even know.” 

He said the machine would now be helping to raise money for mental health. 

For every hour the machine works, $2 will be donated to mental health and wellbeing support organisation Beyond Blue. 

“Now it will do some work around Melbourne and be raising money at the same time,” Mr Rogers said. 

“The date it got painted was the day we started donating back to Beyond Blue.” 

Mr Rogers said he wanted to boost awareness in an industry that was often less likely to talk about mental health. 

“People really struggle to find people to talk to about it. I’ve worked on construction sites in Melbourne for a few years and there’s not much awareness of mental health in this industry,” he said. 

“Life is too short not to talk about it, but it is hard to take the first step. With the dozer, I wanted to help people take that initial step and start the conversation with somebody, whether that’s reaching out to a colleague, friend or a family member.”

Nigel said conversations with friends and family about sport, daily routines or ‘normal bloke talk’ was what got him through his darkest days. 

 “Life is tough, but life can also be awesome,” he said.

The entire October 14, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!