Anzac Day might be over for another year, but for Matthew Aldridge, the time for honoring and supporting our veterans is only just beginning.
The 30-year-old farmer from Avenel in north-east Victoria, will embark on a grueling, but fun, 15-day charity ride, which will average up to 107 kilometers a day, in an effort to help veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Mr Aldridge said many PTSD victims suffer in silence because they don’t get things off their chest. ‘Cooee’ is a shout used in the Australian bush as a call for help.
“The Coo-Wee Ride is all about trying to show veterans that you’re not being weak by telling your family or your mates that you have a serious issue going on upstairs,” Matt said.
Matt’s wife Emma is also passionate about the cause. Her great grandfather, Second Lieutenant William John Dickens, was a highly decorated soldier.
The Coo-Wee Ride will begin on Saturday, May 6 in Barmera, South Australia. They will replace his lost war medals on his grave before heading off on the ride of a lifetime.
“His story is pretty inspiring. He fought in both world wars and his brother was killed. He lost all his war medals – he was awarded a Military Cross – so we had them remade and we’ll place them on his grave before we head-off,” Matt said.
Up to 20 veterans will be joining Matt on the ride when it reaches Seymour on May 17.
“They’ll spend the next four days with us riding through Mansfield and Mount Buller,” Matt said. The ride will finish at the Beechworth RSL in Victoria on May 20.
“We want to be able to help people directly so that they’re physically and mentally active. We really just want to encourage them to speak-up about their experiences on the ride,” Matt added.
Donations can be made at the Coo-Wee ride website: cooweeride.org.au
For any veterans who want to join the ride, they can contact Matt via the Coo-Wee Ride website or Facebook Page.
Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities and currently works at Redkite, a childhood cancer charity.