A WARRIOR on the front line, Andrew Lund could not win his battle against post- traumatic stress disorder.
What the Ballarat army sergeant saw during his time in Iraq in 2004 was too much for the dedicated family man, who in the past was relied upon for his loyalty and laughter.
Initially inside the “green zone” when he arrived in Iraq, ‘Lundy’ as his family and friends knew him, saw things no human should ever have to imagine.
“I don’t think we ever knew the extent of what he actually saw over there,” his heartbroken sister Felicity Harte said on Wednesday.
Joining the Australian Defence Force at age 23, Lundy was 43 years old and battling severe PTSD when he took his life in 2013.
A former St Patrick’s College student, he’d given his all to try to beat the crippling condition, but couldn’t.
As Mr Lund’s best mate of more than 30 years, Jason Harwood, told The Courier: “People were inspired by his battle with PTSD, a fight ultimately he did not, and perhaps could not, win.”
Understandably, Mr Lund’s family and friends find it difficult to talk about their beloved soldier.
Mr Harwood married last year, but he didn’t have his best man alongside him.
Similarly, Mr Lund’s two children must now live without a father.
Tragically, PTSD impacts the lives of too many returned servicemen and women.
Australian experts believe one veteran commits suicide every day, while in America approximately one veteran commits suicide each hour.
Mr Harwood said it was these statistics, coupled with his best mate’s death, which required the immediate need of awareness surrounding PTSD.
“Most people still don’t realise what it is – my best mate certainly didn’t, we didn’t,” he said.
“And it’s not just the person who PTSD affects, it’s the whole family.”
In an effort to raise money and awareness for the condition, Mr Harwood has teamed up with Mates4Mates, a support service for current and returned Australian Defence Force members battling any form of physical or mental ailment due to their time serving.
Mr Harwood is also encouraging people to get involved with a trip to walk the Kokoda track in October.
He said the group was aiming to take 25 trekkers, in turn spreading the word and hopefully raising money to support Mates4Mates.
To get involved in the trek and for more information, visit www.lundystrek.com.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call 9642 5183. To donate to the cause, visit www.everydayhero.com.au/event /lundystrek2015.
For help call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au.