Vietnam Veterans raising money and awareness of post traumatic stress disorder

VIETNAM veterans have completed a bike ride from Vietnam to Singapore and are now on their way from Perth to Canberra. 

Nhill RSL President Henry Berry at the Nhill Anzac Ceremony this year.

Nhill RSL President Henry Berry at the Nhill Anzac Ceremony this year.

The veterans call their crusade the Long Ride Home. 

The group will set up camp for two nights in Nhill on Friday, October 21. 

An opening ceremony will be hosted at Goldsworthy Park in Nhill when the group arrives at 11am, with everyone invited to take part. 

The group is riding to raise money and awareness for post traumatic stress disorder. 

Co-organiser for the official opening and secretary of the Nhill RSL sub-branch Rhys Webster said it was about awareness and acknowledging what our soldiers had sacrificed for their country. 

“All of them are Vietnam veterans, but they also speak about how police, firefighters and doctors all go through similar disorders after they have retired,” he said. 

“Councillors, the mayor, the CFA, the SES, police and everyone from the community will be there to welcome them to Nhill.

“The money raised by the veterans will go to the three main foundations in Australia that help people with post traumatic stress disorder.

“A lot of the proceeds will be going towards the main support centre, St John Of God Hospital in Sydney, where most of the veterans went for treatment for the disorder.” 

The veterans will leave Nhill on Sunday morning to continue their journey to Canberra in the hope of making the Remembrance Day ceremony. 

Mr Webster said the ride was an important occasion for the Wimmera. 

“The veterans will host some functions while they are here,” he said. 

The Nhill RSL and the Lower Lodge Freemasons will raise money from hosting a raffle ticket prize and dinners. 

“They will be visiting the Aviation Heritage Centre to see all of the war planes, along with a community dinner on the Friday,” Mr Webster said.

“We will be given the chance to hear from one of the veterans about their time in Vietnam and their experiences with post traumatic stress disorder.” 

On Saturday, the group of veterans will travel to see old machinery and have a barbecue together with members of the community, before a chance to see a performance from the Karen people of Nhill. 

The group will then receive cheques from the Rotary and Lions clubs for their efforts to spread awareness of post traumatic stress disorder. 

“They will lay wreaths at Goldsworthy Park as well as at the National War Memorial,” Mr Webster said. 

“The reason they chose Nhill to stay at for the weekend was because the Nhill RSL sub-branch president Henry Berry was also an ex-Vietnam vet. 

“They wanted to show that people in all areas of the country helped this nation.”