The Veteran Surf Project continues to go from strength to strength.
More than 50 former or current veterans have already taken part in the 10-week program where surfing is being used to combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
To further enhance and promote the project, a special veterans and family surfing day will be held this Saturday, July 17 at Seven Mile Beach at Gerroa, between 11am and 3pm.
This event is open to all veterans who wish to test the water (no pun intended) in a safe and enjoyable environment, with fully qualified and enthusiastic coaches.
All boards and wetsuits supplied. You can bring your family along to enjoy the day and the surf with you.
For more information on the ongoing Veterans Surf Project go to 'Veteran Surf Project' on Facebook, or www.veteransurfproject.org or contact Rusty Moran on 0414 245 216.
The Australia-first initiative aims to help heal the wounds of defence personnel suffering from PTSD and is the brainchild of former big wave professional surfer and Gerringong Surf School owner, Rusty Moran, who has partnered with solicitor and former army officer Glenn Kolomeitz and the Keith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group, run out of Nowra, in providing the ground breaking program.
The program gained a $280,686 grant under the 2019-20 Supporting Younger Veterans (SYV) grants program from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The program is also providing data for a clinical study by the Western Sydney University, analysing the scientific benefits from surfing on those suffering from PTSD and depression.
The surfing program is one of a host of programs the Keith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group successfully runs for veterans.
KPVCVBG chairman Rick Meehan said after the disappointment of having to cancel the annual Shoalhaven Digger Day, also set down for Saturday, the surfing program is going from "strength to strength".
"With all the COVID restrictions and everything that is going on we just had to make the call to cancel this year's Digger Day event," he said.
"While that is disappointing we have to keep everyone and our community safe.
"We run a number of programs in the area and the Veteran Surf Project is proving to be one of the best.
"The group is now hitting the water each Wednesday and Saturday."
Mr Meehan, who himself has taken part in the program, said the project is proving extremely popular.
"It's amazing the difference getting out on the water and learning to surf makes," he said.
"As a group we are so proud to be part of the program.
"We hope to have 80 participants complete the course."
And a logo for the Veteran Surf Project has been unveiled.
After a number of iterations, the new VSP logo, which features a kangaroo surfing, thanks to designer Luise Grice, has been settled on.
A lot of thought has been put into the symbolism of the logo.
"Skippy" is a hat tip to all three branches of the Australian Defence Force [ADF].
The roundel is the heraldry shield, like a coat of arms, signifying the group "is a family" and "are strong together".
The kangaroo, especially on a surfboard, can only move forward and surfing provides all a new story to describe themselves with.
There are still place available in the surfing program, which is held each Wednesday (8am-12noon) and Saturday (11am-3pm), and any veterans who would like to take part can contact Rusty on 0414 245 216 or www.veteransurfproject.org or via social media at @VeteranSurfProject.