Earlier this year I participated in the annual Pollie Pedal, cycling more than one thousand kilometres through cities and towns in south east Queensland.
Not only was I proud to be supporting Soldier On, a terrific charity that gives back to the veterans in this country, but I also met some outstanding service men and women and heard their stories.
I rise today to speak about the stories of constituents in my own electorate of Hume, who have dedicated their life to serving our country.
Camden local, Bob “Cocky” Roach is a Korean and Vietnam War veteran with 39 years service in the Royal Australian Navy. Bob’s sons have also followed in their dad’s footsteps serving in the Australian Defence Force.
Bob continues to serve the community today by volunteering at the Vietnam Veterans Association in Macarthur as Assistant Treasurer and Welfare Officer.
Every month my Electorate Office in Camden prints 400 copies of the Veterans News, a Macarthur veterans information service that Bob delivers to local hospitals, pubs, aged care homes and to the local RSL.
He has been a legatee for 26 years and currently has 80 war widows who he regularly checks in with to ensure they are looked after.
Bob continues to serve his community at the age of 84, always with a smile and an enthusiasm for helping others.
Shane Cheney is another Hume resident who has dedicated 33 years of his life to serving his country.
In 1987, straight out of school, Shane enlisted in the Navy and has since also served in the Army and Air Force.
After five deployments overseas, including twice to Afghanistan in 2009 and 2013, Shane decided to leave a career of service after more than three decades and return to civilian life.
Like so many of our veterans, Shane struggled with this adjustment.
Shane sought help through Soldier On and Open Arms and was introduced to equine therapy. Despite having no experience with horses, Shane enjoyed it so much he became a regular volunteer.
Now known as Spur, the pilot program which started in Picton in my electorate, allows veterans experiencing PTSD to undertake horse care and riding with retired racehorses.
While on Pollie Pedal in 2017, I met Garry Robinson, a Camden resident who served in the military for 21 years.
In 2010, after a Blackhawk Helicopter crash in Afghanistan, Garry lost his left leg.
After years of rehabilitation, Garry has overcome his injuries and participated in all four Invictus Games. At last year’s games he took home two silver medals in swimming and archery.
I’d like to thank Soldier On for all the fantastic work they do in supporting our returned servicemen and women and their families.