WE CAN BE HEROES: Founder of Younger Heroes Damien Schofield with CEO Mark Wales
WE CAN BE HEROES: Founder of Younger Heroes Damien Schofield with CEO Mark Wales Christian Morrow

Helping heroes and their children

MILITARY personnel returning from active service often bring back some of the darkness of war when they return.

This can manifest as PTSD and sometimes profound mental illness with the soldiers family and children often deeply affected.

Damien Schofield was one of those affected by his father's war service in Vietnam and he has founded Younger Heroes as a way of helping other families in the same boat.

Younger Heroes is a breakthrough program designed by professionals to enhance and strengthen the critical bond between returned servicemen and women and those that have served the nation and their children

"I started Younger Heroes to support the children of those who have been on active duty with the defence force, as it's not well known what a child of a serving military person has to go through," Mr Schofield said.

"I'm the son of a Vietnam veteran so I understand what those soldier's families went through and what the next generation of defence children are going through and can share some coping mechanism for things that may come up in their life later on.

Mr Schofield has recruited ex-Special Forces soldier Mark Wales as CEO of the organisation and the pair, together with trained army psychologist took a group of ex-military personnel and their children away for a bush camp last weekend near Mount Warning.

"What Damien has identified is that there is no real targeting by the government of the relationship between a parent and the child, which really suffers considerably," Mr Wales said.

"A family can have associative trauma that can lead to things such as self harm and long term unemployment for the children and we will be aiming to help prevent that occurring."

"We take the serviceman and their children up into the bush for four days with no technology and work on building resilience, communication skills and team building," Mr Schofield said.

The camp has been funded by a private donation but Younger Heroes, a not-for-profit, registered charity with full Deductible Gift Recipient status, is looking for long term support.

You can join the crew for a day of fund raising fun from 11am on Friday December 1 at the Byron Bay Golf Course.

For info go to: www.theyoungerheroes.org