Walking with purpose for veterans

Published 10:00am 28 April 2023

Walking with purpose for veterans
Words by Kylie Knight

This year’s Walking Off the War Within event will bring veterans, emergency services personnel, families and the general community together in a bid to raise awareness of mental health challenges facing many.

The event will start at Clontarf’s Pelican Park on May 27 at 8am, offering participants the opportunity to walk with or without a pack 5, 10 or 20km.

It’s being organised by Elimbah’s Lee Duke in memory of his mate and fellow veteran Nathan Shanahan and in a bid to show other veterans and former emergency services personnel they’re not alone in battling the war within.

Nathan, pictured below, did his own walk in 2015, 400km from Mildura to Adelaide, carrying a 20kg pack to raise money for and awareness of mental illness.

He lost his battle in 2016 and friends and family held the first walk in his honour the following year.

Lee and Nathan did basic training at Kapooka together in 2005, were then posted to Puckapunyal and then Darwin.

Lee was subsequently deployed to the Solomon Islands and Afghanistan.

Nathan went on to be a fire fighter after he left the Army.

“He was a really tough guy and that’s probably the hardest thing. It really knocked me for six,” Lee says of Nathan’s death.

“Everyone is affected in different ways and we need different ways to live with it.”

The motto is ‘Share the Burden. Walk as One’.

Lee says this year’s third ‘Brisbane event’ is an opportunity to remove the stigma from mental health and make it easier for those needing help to reach out.

Registration is available for free, $10, $25 or a nominated amount of your choice.

Money raised through ticket sales will cover event running costs, with proceeds donated to SMEAC veteran hub and Trek2Health.

To register for this year’s Walking Off the War Within, visit the website

Walking with purpose for veterans

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