5 December 2023

Veterans invited to register interest for 2024 Kokoda journey

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Lachlan Stevens and Mitchell McArdle carrying camera at end of Kokoda trail.

Veteran Lachlan Stevens and docuseries director Mitchell McArdle during the first Kokoda trip earlier this year. Photo: Warren Keelan.

Following the success of the first Walk With Us – Kokoda initiative this year, nominations are open for veterans who want to tackle the gruelling trek in 2024.

The Illawarra-based Raising the Bar Foundation, formerly known as Barstool Brothers, is organising the trip in partnership with RSL NSW.

Foundation chairperson and veteran Lachlan Stevens said the Kokoda initiative was a four-year program that honoured the enduring legacy of Australia’s World War II heroes while providing vital support for younger veterans.

“The program, financially supported by RSL NSW, extends beyond a mere partnership. It aligns organisational priorities towards supporting mental health and emphasises values such as mateship, courage, resilience, and sacrifice forged on the Kokoda trail,” he said.

“This unique initiative enables veterans to walk alongside civilians, fostering reflection on their service and establishing purpose within sub-branch communities across NSW.

“While engaging with RSL sub-branches is crucial, there is a strong emphasis on integration into the broader community.

“Veterans can utilise the experience to network, lead, be led, and uphold the concept of ‘service after service,’ becoming custodians of the veteran legacy.”

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The first Kokoda journey earlier this year – conducted by the Barstool Brothers and The Man Walk – has been captured in a docuseries, which will be released in mid-2024.

The series follows the lives and journeys of several men, recounting life experiences and showcasing how the Kokoda experience shapes who they want to be.

“It’s a call to action, and that action might be going over to Kokoda, that action might be involving yourself with one of our organisations, it might be if you’re a mother or a loved one or wife or girlfriend of someone who’s struggling it might be having a conversation to encourage action,” Lachlan told Region.

“If we can change someone’s life by watching stories and being vulnerable about our own stories, then that’s a massive win.”

Nominations for veteran sponsorships are open until 7 January 2024, and the group will start the Kokoda journey on 13 May.

Visit the online nomination form or email Lachlan for more information.

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