Big Rigs helps daughter, 46, reunite with long-lost truckie dad

A Brisbane woman, who has been attempting to contact her long-lost truckie father for the past 36 years, has finally tracked him down thanks to a story in Big Rigs.

“I have been searching for my father since I was aged 10 and had no luck finding him,” an emotional Tenille Drum, now 46, told me as she choked back tears of delight.

Drum, who had drifted apart from her dad after his relationship with her mother ended, had seemingly exhausted all avenues to find the now 66-year-old Gerry Netter.

Drum and partner Damien Alexander had even contacted a private investigator who provided a quote of $2000 and Townsville’s Lavarack Barracks where he had been a soldier for some years.

Then Drum’s partner Damien Alexander ‘Googled’ Netter’s name and his Big Rigs story appeared from 2021 with the truckie standing beside his Kia truck.

I had only seen Netter the day before at the Bellevue Hotel, which is a popular haunt for off-duty truckies where he said he was looking for a job.

Netter had been doing it tough of late. He rents a room about 2km away and told how his trusty pushbike, which he uses to get around on, had been stolen that day.

His truck had also broken down, and was beyond repair, and he’d also had his licence suspended for several months after being nabbed by police while driving with a low-range blood alcohol level.

Myself and my daughter Joanne passed on several numbers where he may find work after we had a cold beer together. I had done numerous stories on Netter, including from his younger years when he was a quality boxer who fought in several toughman contests in Townsville.

After Alexander called Big Rigs, I went back to the hotel a day later and passed on his number so Netter could call Alexander and his daughter, which he did the next day, much to his daughter’s delight.

“This is just so amazing and I am over the moon about this and so thankful,” Drum said.

“I last saw Dad all those years ago and despite trying to find him for a long time this has come out of the blue. I have finally found about him and we are determined to help him find a job.”

Drum’s partner is a Brisbane tradie who has some relatives in the area with work opportunities that Netter is looking forward to taking up when he gets his licence back in May and also reapplies for his HR.

“It was a 90-minute conversion and was very touching,” said Netter of the emotional call to his daughter.

“Finding her was like winning Lotto and it was a big surprise. We talked about all the lost years and I am really happy they are hopeful of getting me some work.”

Drum, who has three children, Zac, 17, Hannah, 14, and baby Darius, 19 months, said she is looking forward to seeing Netter and would love to travel to Townsville to meet with him.

“They would really want to meet up with their grandfather and he has other relatives as well,” she said.

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