Hundreds of South Australians will converge on the Adelaide Hills on Saturday 22nd August for the annual SmartBar Walk for a Veteran with PTSD event, raising much-needed funds and awareness for those affected by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and mental health issues in the Veteran and Emergency services community
The 35km walk will begin at Woodside Oval at 7am, with walkers making their way to Oakbank then heading north up the hill to Lenswood and effected bushfire areas of Forest Range and Lobethal before finishing back at Woodside.
The decision to move the walk to the Adelaide Hills from the Adelaide Beaches this year is in support of our CFS and MFS friends and their communities. To engage with the Adelaide Hills community gives the opportunity for sharing with those not involved with the bushfires. Local residents and business owners will get an opportunity to reconnect and spend time with CFS, Army and MFS personnel involved in the bushfires.
Ex serving members of the military never stop serving the community, and as a group event organisers in 2020 want to use the event to also support the local businesses and people of the Adelaide Hills. The route will take walkers past several wineries that have been affected by the bushfires, with walkers having several opportunities to support these businesses during the day.
The walk aims to draw attention to the mental health issues that affects many military and emergency services personnel. Our Walk for a Veteran family puts our arms around veterans, emergency services personnel and their families who have been affected by mental health issues.
Taking part again is the SA Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS), and joining them is the CFS, Aviation Firefighters, SES, and several ADF units from across SA, including 1st Combat Service Support Team from Edinburgh and Warradale. ADF personnel will also be visible across the 35km course, keeping watch on the many checkpoints.
In 2020 the aim is to raise $70,000, up from last year’s $55,000 with the proceeds going to organisations and services that support veteran and emergency services mental health programs. The events chosen charities in 2020 will be Royal Society for the Blind’s Operation K9, Heroes on the Homefront (HOTH), Australian Professional Firefighters Foundation (APFF), and CFS Foundation – SA.
Walk for a Veteran founder Chad McLaren, who deployed to East Timor with the 6th Battalion in 2000, is excited about the events continued growth year after year.
“Each year, more and more people lend their support to this wonderful initiative, helping it to grow in size and awareness and we’re excited to involve the hills community in 2020.”
Beginning in 2016 with 3 servicemen walking the 42km, and in 2019 we saw 370 take part in the event coming from all over Australia.
Participants will start from a staggered start at Woodside Oval, where they can choose to walk the entire 35km individually, or complete as a relay with friends, family, or colleagues in groups of 3, with each person completing smaller sections of the trek.
First stopping at the Oakbank racecourse, the walkers will have the opportunity to support Cobb’s Hill Estate on Swamp Rd, before heading up to Forest Range to enjoy lunch at Anderson Hill winery. Stopping at the Lobethal Bierhaus before finishing at between approx. 2-4pm at Barristers Block winery in Woodside. The finish line will see Mark Aiston speaking to several guests, with entertainment across the afternoon. All local Adelaide Hills residents and businesses will be invited to Barristers Block to take part in the community event.
The challenge to walkers this year is to finish with more weight in their back packs than what they started with. Walkers will be able to add weight by supporting local wineries on route.
Now in its fifth consecutive year, the 2020 Walk for a Veteran is proudly sponsored by South Australia’s own leading plastics and bullbar manufacturer SmartBar Australia, based at Lonsdale.
SmartBar Australia General Manager Kevin Baker, who is a former STAR Force Officer and worked in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, was inspired to get on board through his personal connection with the charity’s mission, “my father and a few friends have suffered from PTSD” Mr. Baker said.
“Every little bit helps, and if we can make even the smallest contribution to support services for those suffering from PTSD, then that is kicking a major goal as far as I am concerned. This event has SmartBar’s full support, now and into the future.”
Local Member Dan Cregan MP will have a team walking in this year’s event and Patron of the event South Australian Premier the Hon Steven Marshall MP. Mr. Marshall is looking forward to another successful event and urged the wider community to get on board with fundraising efforts and involvement in the day.
“We are excited about the move to the Adelaide Hills for 2020 to support and involve those impacted by the Adelaide Hills fires earlier this year” said Mr Marshall.