Veterian visits Clare during 10,000km's awareness bicycle ride

Laurie Sams has a vision where Australia becomes the world leaders in "support and care of our military veterans".

Laurie Sams has a vision where Australia becomes the world leaders in "support and care of our military veterans".

Riding a bicycle from Vietnam to Sydney sounds like a dreaded task for anyone, but for this one-legged ex-SAS veteran, his cause is illuminating his way on the 10,000-kilometre journey.

Having experienced trauma from military conflicts first hand, Laurie Sams has a vision where Australia becomes the world leader in "support and care of our military veterans". 

"I've had a lot of feedback from people not realising there is a shortfall about looking after our veterans," Laurie said.

"People assume it's happening, but it's not happening.”

Laurie decided he wanted to do something to raise public awareness of military trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by riding his bike from the country where his 21 years of service in the Australian Defence Force begun.  

"I don't know the exact figures, but there are certainly more Vietnam veterans who have committed suicide than those killed in the [Vietnam] war.”

Laurie said PTSD does not immediately hit its victims, but rather brews and can come out in tragic, life altering ways.

"It slowly crept up on me; it took about 20 years," Laurie said.

"I knew it was there and I thought I had it under wraps, but in the end, it cost me my family, and it almost cost me my life."

After 96 days on the road, Laurie and his team arrived in Clare, where they received a greeting from Mayor Allan Aughey and Auburn/Clare Districts RSL Sub-Branch president Peter Lane.

"It was fantastic getting the welcome into the town," Laurie said.

"We met a lot of the locals and received a lot of donations from Clare.”

After settling in, Laurie asked his team "can we get another day in [Clare], this is a nice spot", falling instantly for the natural beauty of the region.

"We hung out [in Clare], tried some of the local wine," Laurie said.

"We moved in amongst the local town and enjoyed ourselves.”

Currently, Laurie and his team have raised over $61,000 for their cause, using the funds to help organisations focusing on veteran support. 

Laurie will head to Adelaide tomorrow morning, and finish his journey at the Sydney Opera House on November 20, ending the 10,000km journey and his six months on the road. 

You can follow, and donate to Laurie’s cause, on the website: www.thelongridehome.com.au.

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