Conquering mountains to support veterans

Conquering mountains to support veterans

15 December 2021

Earlier this year, Murph helped to raise an outstanding $11,922 for Mates4Mates to assist us with our mission to support veterans and their families who have been impacted by service. As the mother of a son who served in Afghanistan and is now living with PTSD, Murph knows first-hand how challenging life can be for those who have served our country and how important donations like this are.

Murph Manthey has been a manager at the Tewantin Noosa RSL for over 20 years and is a friendly face to those who have walked through their front doors. Throughout her time at the club, Murph has worked in the Diggers Bar, establishing lifelong friendships with veterans and their families.

One of Murph’s first experiences with Mates4Mates was when she took part in our Kokoda Challenge in 2014 which saw participants walk the 96km Kokoda Trial in Papua New Guinea.

“When Rachel [Jarvis] and I decided we wanted to take part in the Mates4Mates Kokoda Challenge in 2014 to honour our veterans, Ian Rowe, who was the Sub Branch President for several years, did everything he could to get us on track with Mates4Mates.”

“The Kokoda Trail was one of the best times of my life. Walking with returned veterans and hearing their stories each night of what they had endured overseas and how they were trying to overcome, not just their physical injuries, but their mental anguish, was eye-opening. It was an honour to hear them talk and to walk alongside them.”

It was this experience which led Murph, Rachel and Ian, with the assistance of the Tewantin RSL, to fundraise over $11,900 for Mates4Mates through numerous fundraising activities, and after their original plan was halted by the pandemic.

“Originally, the goal was for Rachel and me to summit Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. We had named our fundraiser ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’ to raise awareness of what those who live with PTSD endure through every single day. We wanted to show that there was no mountain too high to conquer.”

Murph’s passion for raising awareness for veterans' mental health comes from her son, an ex-serving soldier who currently lives with extreme PTSD.

“He served in Afghanistan and has never been the same since. He battles with his severe PTSD and has tried to take his own life on more than two occasions. Its only by the grace of God that we still have him with us, but every single day is a battle within himself.”

“We chose to climb Kilimanjaro when we found out the statistics on veteran suicides. It is horrific. Kilimanjaro signified in a small way what it is like to suffer from PTSD; it is scary, hard to breathe, and you really must push yourself to take a single step.”

“However, due to COVID-19, the chances of overseas travel became unlikely in the short-term, so we decided there was no worthier cause than Mates4Mates to donate all the money raised.”

Mates4Mates provides a range of services to support veterans and their families who have been impacted by service. From physical rehabilitation and psychology services to skills and wellbeing programs, and social connection activities – our innovative and evidence-led services improve lives. It was these services that Murph witnessed first-hand during the Kokoda Challenge.

“It wasn’t just the physical side of the trek that Mates4Mates had staff assisting veterans and others with, but it was making sure there was a psychologist around to help out and chat with at any time. From there, we heard about all the other services they provide, such as their social connection activities. We know this donation will help to continue offering these services."

While raising the money and sharing the message about an important cause, Murph and the team were able to share in the fun during their various fundraisers which included a car washing day, a sausage sizzle, a Drag Queen Bingo night, and a trivia night.

“We had a tonne of support from fellow workers and our local community in raising the money and awareness of PTSD. Every fundraiser that we did was focused around getting people to understand what our veterans are going through and how they can help just by lending an ear as these returned veterans feel so isolated.”

Once the world “gets back to its new normal” Murph and Rachel are still planning to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of PTSD.

From all of us at Mates4Mates, thank you Murph, Rachel, Ian and the Tewantin RSL for your generous donation. This will significantly help Mates4Mates continue to actively change the lives of veterans and their families impacted by service.

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