Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Hume Electorate: Veterans
Earlier this year I participated in the annual Pollie Pedal, cycling more than 1,000 kilometres through South East Queensland. Not only was I proud to be supporting Soldier On, but I also met some outstanding service men and women and heard their stories. I rise today to speak about the stories of constituents in my own electorate of Hume who have dedicated their life to serving our country.
Camden local Bob 'Cocky' Roach is an 84-year-old Korean and Vietnam war veteran with 39 years service in the Royal Australian Navy. Bob's sons have followed in their dad's footsteps, serving in the ADF. Bob continues to serve the community today by volunteering at the Vietnam Veterans Association in Macarthur. Every month, my electorate office in Camden prints 400 copies of the Veterans News, a Macarthur veterans information service that Bob delivers to local hospitals, pubs, aged-care homes and the local RSL. He has been a Legatee for 26 years and currently has 80 war widows he regularly checks in on.
Shane Cheney, another Hume resident, has dedicated 33 years of his life to his country. In 1987, straight out of school, Shane enlisted in the Navy and has since served in the Army and the Air Force. After five deployments overseas, including twice in Afghanistan, in 2009 and 2013, Shane decided to leave a career of service after more than three decades. Like so many of our veterans he struggled with this adjustment. He sought help through Soldier On and Open Arms and was introduced to equine therapy. Despite having no experience with horses, Shane enjoyed it so much he became a regular volunteer. Now known as Spur, the pilot program, which started in Picton in my electorate, allows veterans experiencing PTSD to undertake horse care and riding with retired racehorses.
Whilst I was on the Pollie Pedal back in 2017, I met Garry Robinson, a fantastic Camden resident, who served in the military for 21 years. In 2010, after a Black Hawk helicopter crash in Afghanistan, Garry lost his left leg. After years of rehabilitation, he has overcome his injuries and has participated in all four Invictus Games. At last year's games he took home two silver medals, in swimming and archery.
Before concluding, I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to a great friend of mine, Mike Navybox, who died as he approached the end of his epic Grand Tours project, an attempt to be only the second amateur cyclist to complete all of the three great cycling tours in Europe. He was raising money for cancer research and raising awareness of early detection intervention and prevention of cancer and depression. As someone who had fought off cancer and depression, he knew what he was talking about. For your inspiration, charisma and charm, you have sparked and touched so many of us. You will ride with us forever on the hills around Goulburn.