Father of two and Veteran Mark Reidy is passionate about increasing advocacy and supporting research into the invisible wounds of service that touch the lives of the men and women that put themselves in harm’s way to protect us. Like you, he wants to see change so they can get the help they so desperately need. Research will help make this happen and we’re so grateful for your support and people like Mark, who are helping to drive action.
With a strong connection to The Repat Foundation – The Road Home, Mark, also the Veterans and Family Program Coordinator for the RSL in South Australia, served in the Australian Army for 16 years. This included two deployments to Iraq, one to Afghanistan and multiple peacekeeping missions at trouble-spots as a cargo specialist, often with the Special Air Service Regiment (SAS). He came out of his service with a knee and back injury, along with an invisible injury: Post-Traumatic Stress, a result of experiencing trauma from the bombs and bullets encountered in the Middle East.
In recognition of his service and ongoing journey with Post-Traumatic Stress, Mark proudly represented Australia in cycling at the recent Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida, an international sporting event for wounded, ill, and injured service men and women – both active duty and veteran.
“Being over in the US for the Games was a once in a lifetime experience. Fifteen countries. Five Hundred Athletes. Over there they talk about Post-Traumatic Stress being an illness and not a disorder. Together, we’re now working to adopt this approach here in Australia.”
With his experience as a Veteran and through his role with the RSL, Mark says while the Army are now being more rigorous with their pre-deployment training, he is aware of a number of gaps in the healthcare system for ex-service men and women. He is determined to play a role in solving this problem by advocating for awareness, research and change.
“Out of my nine overseas operations I only had two pre-deployment training briefs – that was it. I know guys who have Post-Traumatic Stress and they just keep going overseas, because that’s how they deal with it, by being in a dangerous area.
“Then they are in trouble when they come back home to a normal life. That’s when they find that they will struggle, and their family will struggle. Part of my role is helping these people and their families readjust by finding them an outlet to help integrate back into the community, such as cycling.”
We are proud to support programs like RSL Active, which intend to improve the life of our veterans when they return home from service and struggle to integrate back into society.
By supporting The Repat Foundation – The Road Home, we are able to provide input into programs like these, ensuring they are designed with the best translational health model in mind. People like Mark are in a unique position to deliver these types of services to our veterans, having been where these men and women are at the frontline of service. Thank you for supporting us in advocating for, and delivering better health and wellbeing services for our nation’s veterans.
If you would like to find out more about the RSL Active Program please contact Mark on 08 8100 7300.