Ex-cop finds home in Maryborough
A NIGHTMARE end to a 17-year career as a police officer brought Roger Eichler to a new Maryborough job where he is determined to turn his life around – and in a totally different field.
The 45-year-old accidentally ran a police truck over a 15-year-old boy in Cooma in NSW during a drug job and while the badly injured teenager recovered, Roger was charged with two serious driving offences.
The result was a very public court case where eventually the magistrate found the incident was a tragic accident and recorded no conviction against the then Senior Constable.
“But I fell into post-traumatic stress disorder, which I can only describe as the most horrible thing to happen. It’s taken almost three years to get out of the darkness, to rescue myself with the help of my family.
“I’m speaking about this now because I want others to know there is light at the end of the tunnel. I lost my career but I’ve found a new one on the Fraser Coast and I’m loving it.”
Roger is managing the renamed Maryborough Motel and Conference Centre in Walker Street and is also studying for his Master of Business Administration at the University of the Sunshine Coast, in spite of failing Year 12.
“After leaving the force I applied for so many jobs but each time I was told I needed a bit of paper to say I was qualified at something. I quickly learned that two, or even three bits of paper are even better. That life and work experience counts for very little.”
He moved with wife Libby and their children Steven, Hannah and Emma to the Sunshine Coast, where he joined up at TAFE and did his diploma of tourism management, while he was managing backpackers’ accommodation at Caloundra.
“Then I had an interview with the Faculty of Business at USC and was overwhelmed to be accepted for the post-graduate MBA degree.
“I’m doing it mostly online and really enjoying it because studying is also helping me enormously to run the motel and conference centre.
“I’ve just got through my graduate diploma in business administration after one year and I’m aiming to have the MBA finished by Christmas next year.”
The family tries to spend most weekends at the motel, with Libby and the kids helping Roger run the 22-unit, former TAFE complex.
“Maryborough has great potential,” he said. “It just needs to stop being a thoroughfare to Hervey Bay. We have to make this beautiful place more of a destination because there is so much to see and do here.”