A HEARTFELT vision to set up a rehabilitation retreat in the Scenic Rim for returned soldiers suffering post traumatic stress disorder is one step closer to becoming a reality .
Veteran support foundation, 4 Aussie Heroes, recently received an $84,440 state government Gambling Community Benefit Grant to build a horse area at the proposed Camp Courage retreat at Limestone Ridges between Boonah and Ipswich.
This comes as National PTSD Day approaches on June 27.
Camp Courage will be set up to focus on early intervention, professional care, camaraderie, rehabilitation and quality of life.
It would provide free short term accommodation in a relaxed, rural environment.
Supporting people afflicted with PTSD is close to the heart of Vietnam veteran Gerry Garard and dual Olympic gold medalist Renita Garard, who founded 4 Aussie Heroes in late 2016.
Mr Garard served in officer training and South Vietnam for two years.
The experience contributed to building his character, attitude and skill set in a direction for him to succeed in the corporate sector.
Upon retirement, Mr Garard said he wanted to give back to those who risked their lives and experienced the horror of serving in conflicts, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I quickly realised that I could contribute to the health and well-being of first responders who were also paying the price of serving our communities," he said.
"Many of these people are suffering and struggling as a result of serving us...they deserved more support than they were getting."
Mr Garard said it was his short to medium term vision to see the Camp Courage retreat built on a 32 acre block.
"The retreat would host the foundation's rehabilitation and other related programs, including our signature Triumph over Trauma program," he said.
"The goal is to substantially contribute to the recovery of those we exist to serve and support, and in so doing improve the quality of life of these heroes and their families."
The Triumph over Trauma program was launched at Tamborine Mountain in March 2019 and consisted of more than 100 sessions of evidence based therapy.
In the long term, 4 Aussie Heroes plans to roll out Camp Courage retreats in at least six areas around Australia.