My Total: $8,760.00
I've had a long time goal to trek the 96km long Kokoda Trail since studying the heroic efforts, carried out in thick jungle and the inhospitable terrain of the Owen Stanley Ranges, of Australian soldiers fighting in Papua New Guinea (PNG), to save mainland Australia from Japanese invasion during World War II. July to November 2017 marks the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Kokoda.
My family has a link to the fighting in PNG during the war, with my grandfather being enlisted from the Militia in Port Moresby, into the Australian Artillery and ended up serving in Lae, on the north coast of PNG. Like many veterans, his service left lasting mental scars which affected his family on his return to Australia. His service was part of the reason I joined the Army after high school.
Just before Anzac Day 2016, my good mate Craig asked if I wanted to trek Kokoda with him and a group of ex-Army mates for his 40th birthday, finishing in Port Moresby on Anzac Day 2017. I jumped at the opportunity and Craig and I decided to use our trek to help raise awareness and funds for modern veterans, and our chosen charity for this is Soldier On Australia.
Our SOK17 - Soldier On Kokoda 17 trek is about a group of veteran mates supporting each other while raising funds for other veterans.
Between our trekking group we have operational service with the Australian Army in Bougainville, East Timor, Iraq and Solomon Islands, and so understand some of the stresses and sacrifices, made as individuals and families, for deployed personnel, and have got mates who have deployed and have come back with psychological or physical injuries.
Soldier On is a privately funded Ex-Sevices Organisation that provides a range of programs and options for serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members.
You may be asking how far will your Donation go, here is an indication:
$60 pays for the staff fees for an ex-serving member and their family to have a consultation with a Reintegration Officer, who can offer advice and begin to connect them with the services offered by Soldier On and other support organisations.
$100 covers the facility and instructor fees for a 1 hour wellness session for approximately 10 veterans. These include things like art & music session and sporting activities & yoga. All of which stimulate good physical and mental feelings for the veterans.
$165 covers the cost of a session with a Psychologist, which helps build the positive trajectory of recovery for the veteran and their family.
$250 covers the cost of a session with a career adviser who can help them develop a professional CV, identify skills learnt during their service which are valuable to civilian employers and assist with trying to find suitable jobs.
$300 covers the cost of a Family Day for approximately 5 veterans and their families. As ADF members transition from service to civilian lives it can cause great stress to families and the Family Days offer an opportunity for a break outside the house and the opportunity to continue the feeling of camaraderie ADF members feel while serving.
The above amounts give you an idea of how powerful your donation can be for an serving or ex-serving member and their family.
Craig and I would be extremely grateful for any donation you can spare in support of Soldier On.
We set ourselves a target of $5,000 to raise between before Anzac Day (25th April) 2017, which we have now passed and are hoping to reach $10,000 in total. All donations over $2 are tax deductible and go directly to Soldier On and once you donate you will have the option to receive a tax receipt to your email address.
Thank you in advance for your support and donations!
Mark & Craig