Our Veterans – PTSD and the battle they face when they come home

By Neil Wilson - Sub Editor for the Bribie Islander

Army veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD. Military. Not for profit organisations. Charity. Queensland. Australia.

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Tags: Army veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD. Military. Not for profit organisations. Charity. Queensland. Australia.

Studies have confirmed that there are a large number of military personnel who experience some type of mental disorder within the first twelve months of returning home after deployment to areas of conflict. The battle that they face when they get home can often result in relationship breakdowns, homelessness or even suicide and whilst increasing awareness of this situation has resulted in varying levels of support now being offered to these brave veterans, there is always room for more and this has been the motivation for veterans Ian Rawson and Stewart Locke to start their new business, “Australian Warfighter Coffee.”

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Ian, a veteran of over nineteen years service with the RAAF prior to being discharged on medical grounds in 2013, and he explained how selling coffee will be of benefit to veterans. ‘The aim of Australian Warfighter Coffee is to use the profits from coffee sales to help veterans get into their own business,’ Ian said. ‘It is often the case that after military service, veterans are unable to sort themselves out when it comes to employment and just sit at home wondering what to do.

We want to pay for veterans or perhaps a member of their family to be trained as baristas so that they can run their own coffee vans,’ he added. Ian also pointed out that this would mean that those who are finding it really hard to work can work only when they wish to or for that matter, need to. He said that when he was discharged he felt like he had just been left on the scrapheap and without the support and constant motivation of his wife, Pauline, he probably wouldn’t have been able to get to where he is now.

Although commencing with just one high quality blend, the company now offers discerning coffee drinkers a choice of the original blend or the Centenary blend and Ian did mention that there will soon be a product available for instant coffee drinkers. He said that the reception from family and friends has been great which is very encouraging. ‘We have already been able to put four people through a barista course and the feedback we have got has been amazing,’ Ian told me. ‘The biggest struggle has been getting major companies and cafes to take us on board.

Every bag of coffee sold puts funds in to help our veterans,’ said Ian. Along with using funds to help veterans, the company regularly donates to a selection of charities and also sponsors a veteran’s paintball team. This initiative is a wonderful example of veterans helping other veterans and both Ian and Stewart are to be congratulated on their achievements so far.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about Australian Warfighter Coffee can send an email to [email protected] or log on to their website which is www.australianwarfighters.com and Ian can be contacted on 0450 785857. Find them on Facebook at Warfighters Coffee.

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A highly successful sales and leadership career working in a number of different and very competitive industries. Engaging with decision makers at all levels in business and government. Three decades employed by corporations, SME businesses in senior roles and almost twelve years operating as a freelance contractor has equipped me well for all aspects of business. Whether leading and mentoring sales teams, or in a direct sales role I enjoy the challenge to meet and exceed expectations. Making a real and tangible difference in either a team environment or as an individual is an important personal goal I have consistently achieved throughout my career. In all of my business and personal dealings over the years there is one issue that stands out above all others - communication. Excellent communication skills creates trust, helps with mutually beneficial outcomes and above all cements long lasting positive relationships. I strive everyday to communicate effectively with the people I encounter.