Ash: My Name is Ash Wilke, I am a former Australian Army Digger, and completed a deployment to Afghanistan. I have since unfortunately been medically discharged from the army due to PTSD.
I applied to join the army and was accepted to become a drone operator, a job I specifically chose for future prospects. I had to wait nearly 12 months before an intake was available for this job, and finally joined the army in February 2010. It was the best job I’d ever had from the start. Military training (boot camp) was grueling and oddly enough I loved it, I finished all my training and joined 20th Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment (20 STA) I was soon lucky enough to be picked to do training in America on the Shadow Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) I completed in the training and then became a part of Shadow group one to be [art of the first Battery of soldiers to take the Shadow system to the war theatre in Afghanistan], which made me extremely proud to be a part of a unit that was picked to be loaded with good soldiers whom had a huge responsibility.
I am a returned Servicemen with PTSD, I struggle every day to get on top of my mental injury but the biggest thing that helps me is the cathartic effects of hand-tool wood working. I have recently made myself a hand-cut, dovetailed box to hold my medals and have received a huge amount of interest from other veterans that want me to make them one. But I want to go one step further and create an environment where I can teach them how to make it themselves!
I am calling this project Dovetails For Diggers.
I will use the money raised to make a workshop and fill it with the necessary tools and equipment to fulfill this outcome. As you may be able to imagine It takes alot to fill a workshop full of all the things necessary to provide for these veterans. Starting with the work space, making workbenches, and even air filtration.
Your funds will not only help me to give back to my veteran community but you will help war veterans deal with stressors related to their service, gain a tangible outcome that they can take home and hold their medals in. The pride and satisfaction that they made the box with their own hands will be immense.
I feel that in the recent times there has been much in the media about the high suicide rates amongst Veterans but with limited offers of help or tangible outcomes. This is our opportunity to give back to these Veterans whom have given so much to let us lead a normal life. Whether they believe in the political reasons behind sending them there or even if they disagree, they still serve our Beautiful country proudly. This is where we, no matter our feelings behind the politics, must stand behind these men and women.
Thank you for your time, Ash.
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