Supported by :
INVITATION. Veterans and friends, here is an opportunity to directly support an initiative which assists younger veterans while enjoying a stroll around the beautiful River Torrens.
WHY. Not only will the event provide funds to ensure the continuation of this worthwhile project, it encourages regular exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.
WHAT. A choice of 5km or 3km routes, either of which may be completed by walking, running or rolling. Families, prams, and pets on leash are welcomed.
WHERE. River Torrens, directly north of the Torrens Parade Ground.
NOTE : Parking WILL be available on the Torrens Parade Ground.
WHEN. Sunday 20 October, starting at 0930 hrs. Cornsey will MC the event.
AFTER. BBQ, coffee and amazing prize draws. Also visit the DVA expo on the parade ground.
Registration: there are THREE ways to registers.
1) Snail mail. Download this form as a pdf fill it out and mail it.
2) Email. Download a word file, fill it out online online and email it
3) Register online. Use our online form to register and pay online using either credit card or PayPal
The first of the following three SMS from came out of the blue from a 2010 trekker. The latter two were sent following my follow up encouragement and enquiries in an effort to identify the specific source of his benefit.
“Good day Moose, Just want to thank you once again for your efforts on Trojans Trek 2010, had me ups and downs since then but I have bit the bullet last year and went and saw a shrink through DVA. If it wasn’t for you and Dogs and the RAR Association who knows where I would be. All is good, on a good path and feeling at ease. H……
“Moose it’s taken the stigma of seeking help away. That is the major step for me anyway. I’ve picked up Dogs Bible every now and then. I’ve been back to Moolooloo twice since then on camping trips with the family shown them Third Water, Hannigan Gap and Nuccaleena. May sound silly but I feel a piece of me is left there, but in a good way. Probably the turning point in the right direction instead of the wrong direction. Cheers
“Yeh no problems mate. The Dogs Bible was easy very to understand. Using like the geese, squirrel, beaver. Touch on Mentoring, The Box of Life. The isolation of the Flinders with other veterans was a real journey in my mind. I opened up to a degree with some members, it was the very first step in kicking the stigma of PTSD. I still keep to myself with civvie friends but feel free to talk about it with other veterans now.
The biggest hurdle was anger within myself, so much anxiety. It became a relief that my shrink has given me ssri medication (Lexapro) to stem the anxiety that comes with intrusive thoughts and the continual feeling of being on edge, (always looking for cover etc). This combined with my time in the Flinders is a Godsend. I can remember loosing that anger feeling in me at the Flinders but becoming a blubbering mess of emotion. But the pressure of life in the fast lane and the civilian priorities just bring on anxiety that is very hard to control.
I keep Dogs’ Bible in the drawer next to my bed and I refresh my mind every now and then to remind me about positives. I tend now to sit back and study the people around me more and try to be more approachable. I guess when Debbie says I am changing for the better it’s working. I can now understand Dogs with how he has bad memories, but chooses not to let them take over! The Bible works for me, maybe a travel friendly version (condensed) so it can fit in your glove box. G
Penny Wright is well known to many servicemen and women for her “across the board” support of just causes. Senator, lawyer, activist and mum, she is a person who is happy to go with her gut feelings on many issues. And she is certainly across many. It was indeed pleasing to see her at the RAR Association Xmas drinks in December for a chat about many matters including Trojan’s Trek. Her interest in such programs is predictable given her passion for social justice matters. Her presence was also rewarded with the opportunity to speak to a few trekkers about the impact of Trojan’s Trek on their lives. Nonetheless, it was with surprise that shortly after, the program received a significant donation from Senator Wright and the Greens. The team are most appreciative as it will directly support the 2013 trek. Thanks Penny!
It was with gratitude that I accepted the invitation of the State Governor for him to host the supporters of the program to drinks at Government House on 6 December. As with all functions of this nature it was hard to draw the line at the agreed number of invitations to be issued. However, this was achieved with 50 supporters dressed in the appropriate finery attending. Both the Governor and his wife Liz were in attendance to welcome and chat with the group. The occasion provided recognition of their collective input in a relaxed atmosphere in a beautiful environment which could never have been achieved within my limited resources. It was also beneficial for the group to gain awareness of the breadth and scope of the program and each parties input.
The weather was warm but more than satisfactory for a stroll round the Torrens on a Sunday, although I believe the Honorary Aide to the Governor may dispute that. After all, number 1 police uniform is more suited to a winter’s day than 24 degrees.
HE the Governor of SA and Mrs Scarce chat with Catesy, Nyssa and Mick Mummery prior to the start
This was the second time the fund raiser was run to support the trek. It was my first foray into organising such a large event. Frankly, I was terrified but my panic was controlled by the gentle murmurings of Mick Mummery who saw nothing as an obstacle. Thanks Mick!
Numbers were down compared to 2011 which was disappointing but times are tough. It was also more difficult to attract sponsors whose logos were printed on the shirts. Nonetheless, all who attended had an enjoyable time. His Excellency the Governor of SA and Liz spent more than 30 minutes chatting to the supporters prior to the start. The raffle prizes which were kindly donated by Harvey Norman included a big TV and a number of 3D cameras. They were won by very grateful recipients.
Our special thanks are extended also to Regency TAFE who supplied the excellent sausages and bread and to all the volunteers who assisted with the BBQ, the raffle and the myriad of other duties which accrue on such occasions; thanks a million. The funds raised will go to a very good program which is helping our mates.
This trek was the fourth in the current series to support contemporary veterans. By that I mean post Vietnam. A number of individuals have asked me why the focus has changed to target veterans post Vietnam. The answer is simple. The first concerns the impact of age as it relates to the ability of the participants to change their behaviour and life style. Many of the veterans we help, live a life style which does not generally conform to community norms. Many appear to live for today only; and many exhibit choices which are not conducive to a healthy life-style. To convince these veterans that there are other more productive life styles is one of our objectives. It is not easy and it is even harder with older veterans.
Briefing before going bush
Is it possible to teach an old dog new tricks? The answer is probably not often, so we try to avoid non productive, rusted on clients. However, in the past few years we have taken a number of Vietnam vets away with their younger successors. The experience has been both educational and enlightening. In some cases, the older veteran did not contribute but in some they have acted as a catalyst to facilitate a depth of group discussion much earlier than normally expected. In the case of the 2012 trek this was a standout. It was because the older veteran had come to grips with his condition and life’s foibles and was prepared to speak frankly about the challenges which face individuals in the same position as he was some 45 years ago.
What is the impact of such honesty and the stripping back of the confidentiality which normally accompanies this condition or circumstance? In a word; startling. The response from the other trekkers was un-mistakably supportive. Often it is helpful to compare what doing it tough is about. Whether is it listening to the station owners relate their personal experiences about the difficulties of living in the bush or to one of the group relate their own story. The other benefit of the sharing experience is simply a halving of the problem. As a consequence it is common for relationships which commence in the bush to blossom in the city. And that results in veteran to veteran support during tough times. That is a winner. Trojan’s Trek is not a cure all; we have never advanced that theory. However, as Dogs rightly preaches, “we are farmers, we simply sow the seeds to a better life.” Furthermore we are patently aware that most will face further ups and downs as time passes. The difference is that the veteran is no longer alone and he has the toolbox from which he can extract a solution.
Moose Dunlop OAM
The logo which we have adopted at Trojan’s Trek depicts the Flinders Ranges. The Flinders is where the program is conducted. It is the place of choice to which we withdraw to gain the tranquillity so necessary for our program. The sharp brown lines are a reminder of the many billions of years of ageing which have resulted in the ancient forms peculiar to that part of the world. The background to its design is worthy of note.
When Operation Flinders, a youth at risk program, was started in 1992, the partner of one of the wonderfully dedicated supporters, offered to come up a design for a logo. John, a very talented and artistic fellow produced the logo above. The staff all agreed that it was beautifully appropriate. We appreciated its horizontal perspective which conveyed distance, the big red gums, the creek lines and the sharp brown edges, the old hills. For many years it featured on the T shirts we presented to the participants and was also used as a masthead and as a letterhead.
In about 1996, the program was recognised for the great work it was achieving with youth and it was decided to incorporate. A board was elected and a CEO appointed. However, with the introduction of new management and different ideas there were moves to change some aspects of the project. The logo was one of the first to be changed. The field staff were not consulted nor impressed, but like many decisions made in these circumstances, it was a done deal. The new logo is fine and comparisons are pointless. However, John’s original logo was benched.
In 2009, when Trojans Trek was resurrected to cater for our contemporary veterans, that is those who served in combat roles post Vietnam; it seemed totally appropriate that the Operation Flinders old logo was given a new life. John was consulted and willingly agreed to our adoption of it. So the logo has been given new life and role. The logo has returned to the Flinders and is now part of a new venture which is managed by many of the individuals who commenced Operation Flinders so many years ago.
Day 1. I have discovered that there is more to my therapy than clinical avenues. I need to grab my life and steer it myself and get rid of the poison in my life. C
Day 1. After talking to Dogs in the car I realise that I have to work out the triggers in my life and start changing the thought process, asking myself, “does this really matter?” H
Day 2. Then longer the week goes the more I can see that there is a light at the end of what I thought was a dark tunnel. G
Day 3. ”Coasting, the information I have gained is irreplaceable.” D
Day 3. ”..I am now thinking f… I don’t want this to end. I have to love and leave these blokes in three days. My feelings I can’t explain but it’s for the better not the end.’ S
Day 3. ” I found myself in my swag unable to sleep,…..I suddenly realised the full effect of my anger and how it has been directed at them in the past. Mentally very exhausted today but I feel good. Decided to describe last night as a productive night of thinking rather than a …. of a night” . A
Day 4. This Trojans Trek is a must do for veterans past and present. S
Day 4. Over the course of the week I have had a huge amount of ideas of how in the future I can communicate effectively with others. D
Day 4. I have got to stop drinking for no reason and going to dark places. I’m almost there but with more work and commitment I can stay in this good place. D
Day 5. Realising it is just now a never ending journey of self prompts and putting my hand up for help … S
Day 5. Great kinetic energy in the group, I feel myself to be coming out of my shell more and more every day. L
It was in 2011 when Moose, AJ and Townie presented the philosophy behind the Trojan’s Trek approach to military induced stress to the Paralowie Lions Club. The presentation was well received by the 40 or so Lions attending and was followed by many incisive questions.
On Sunday 24 June Moose was invited back for the handover dinner at which a $3000.00 cheque was presented to the project. Although the Paralowie club is relatively small by Australian standards it manages to carry out a number of wonderfully altruistic tasks to assist others in the community. The trek staff are most grateful for the donation which will pay for one veteran to attend the trek.
President Colin and Secretary Libby with Moose at the presentation
At the 2012 Gala Ball, A/Prof Susan Neuhaus the Chair of the Repat Foundation, previously known as the Daw Park Foundation, handed a cheque to Major Mark Keynes on behalf of the Foundation. The money will go directly to support the work of Trojan’s Trek.
This is the second year that the Foundation has recognised the advantages offered by direct and measurable intervention such as that carried out on Trojan’s Trek. Further independent work is being carried out by way of analysing the quantitative results of the treks so far conducted. It is expected that the results of this study will be released in early 2013.