Personal link to ANZAC Day as KAP candidate reflects on veteran mental health challenges

Apr 25, 2024

FOR Michael Pugh, KAP candidate for Mundingburra, Anzac Day is not merely a date on the calendar but a deeply personal day of remembrance, reflection, and gratitude.

Attending the Dawn Service in the  Garrison City of Townsville, our Nation’s “Army Capital’ and home to Lavarack Barracks, Australia’s largest Military Base, Michael reflected on the importance of the occasion and his family ties to war.

“Anzac Day carries immense weight in my heart and soul. The history, significance, and importance of the defence force in Townsville run deep, shaping the city’s identity, and playing a pivotal role in its development,” he said.

“The defence force presence has not only provided economic stability but has also fostered a strong sense of community pride and support for service personnel and their families.

“With a rich military heritage and ongoing contributions to national security, Townsville stands as a testament to the enduring importance of the defence force in safeguarding Australia’s interests and promoting peace and stability in the region.”

With a history of servicemen in his family, Michael is acutely aware of the mental health challenges faced by many, having spent the past five years organising and leading hikes with many veterans.

“As founder of the Townsville Hike and Explore Group, a social outdoor group that exists to improve mental and physical health outcomes across our community by organising free, fun, social and supportive outdoor events, I have made a conscious effort to network with several veteran groups and organisations, welcoming our veteran community to take part in our events,” he explained.

“This has given our outdoor and veteran communities the chance to visit several sights of military significance in our region, including the crash site of a RAAF ‘’de Havilland Mosquito Reconnaissance aircraft near the summit of Saddle Mountain.”

The group was recently featured at the Defence Welcome Expo and organised events with Oasis Townsville.