Come and have a walk, a chat and later a cuppa - that's the message for the launch of Operation Walk to Talk in Nowra this Friday.
The event is the brainchild of the chairman and vice-chairman of the Keith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group, Rick Meehan and Fred Campbell.
It joins the successful Men's Walk programs in both Wollongong and Kiama.
"While it is primarily a group for Shoalhaven based veterans, both current and former, the walks are also open to all members of the public, male and female," Mr Meehan said.
"The walks, which we hope in the new year will become regular events, are also open to any veterans who might be visiting the area," Mr Campbell said.
"We know the issues veterans, not just locally, but across the country face," Mr Meehan said.
While it is primarily a group for Shoalhaven based veterans, both current and former, the walks are also open to all members of the public, male and female.Keith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group chairman Rick Meehan.
"This is a way of getting them together with like-minded people. Veterans, many of whom have been through the same things and might suffer the same issues."
"It's all about wellbeing, both physically and mentally," Mr Campbell said.
"We know mental health is a big issue not just for veterans but also for the wider community.
"This is a way to tackle issues - simply have a walk and talk among peers - in a safe non-judgmental environment."
The initial plan is to stage the walks every second Friday from 7am.
"At this stage this is a pilot program to see how it goes," Mr Meehan said.
"We would like to expand the program and have different walks in different locations."
"Hopefully it can also become a networking tool," Mr Campbell said.
We know mental health is a big issue not just for veterans but also for the wider community. This is a way to tackle issues - simply have a walk and talk among peers - in a safe non-judgmental environment. It's as simple as that - big benefits both physically and mentally - who knows we may even solve some of the problems of the worldKeith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group vice-chairman Fred Campbell.
"If people meet each other and find they live close and can't get to the regular walk, they can even arrange to have walks together in their own areas."
"Eventually we would like to possibly see it become a weekly event," Mr Meehan said.
"This is a starting point. We want to see how it goes.
"We know as we head into Christmas it is a busy period, so it's planned to have another walk on December 20 and then take a break for the holiday period and return on a normal basis on January 17."
Mr Campbell reiterated while the event is aimed at local veterans, past, present, male or female, the event is open to all and all ages.
"Just get together, maybe meet some new people, have a walk and enjoy a chat," he said.
"It's as simple as that - big benefits both physically and mentally - who knows we may even solve some of the problems of the world."
The event is also aimed at local emergency services - the first responders like ambulance, police, fire brigade, as well as the RFS, SES.
"We know they all do fantastic jobs serving our local community and we would love to see them take part," Mr Meehan said.
"This is something Keith Payne is very passionate about.
"He loves coming down here, he's here that often he's almost a local.
"It is hoped to also have Keith take part in one of the events in the new year."
Friday's (December 6) walk will start at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre at 0700, that's 7am for us civies.
There will be a short, leisurely half-hour stroll through nearby Harry Sawkins Park followed by a coffee and egg and bacon roll provided by the veteran's group at the entertainment centre.
There is no need to register for the event, just turn up.