VicPol Corporate

Day 20: From Wayne Gatt

We battled rain off and on for the Day as we made our way towards Shepparton. The weather app showed 14 degrees and `feels like’ 4.3, quite the change from the start of our walk in Mildura. I was walking with the Hon Edward O’Donohue Shadow Minister for Police and Sergeant Mark Sims from the Associations Executive.

We walked to the Mooroopna McDonalds where we were joined by Inspector Troy Hargadon and members from the Shepparton Police Station.  It was great to have a cross-section of members from the area to walk the 5km into the town of Shepparton. Members braved the rain in shirt sleeves for the cause as we talked about life at the busy regional station. All agreed that police are starting to talk more about their mental health and one explained how it was nice to recently get a text from a colleague after he had been to a nasty job simply asking how he was going after it.

Welfare checks don’t have to be formal, recorded or done by supervisors – the best ones are done by mates. We had a BBQ lunch in the Maude Street Mall and I had a chat with two police veterans who have PTSD. They came along to say hello, show support but both need more help. The Retired Peer Support Program will do that.  The Hon Wendy Lovell (member for Northern Victoria) and Kim O’Keeffe Mayor of Shepparton joined us and our members to talk about Head to Head.

After the BBQ, Peter Abbey and I walked on through the town to Shepparton East, where the landscape changed to include rows of fruit trees until we reached Pine Lodge. We have three big days of walking to get to the finish line – here’s hoping we get better weather for a long days walking tomorrow.

Reviewed 13 August 2019

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