The region will welcome struggling Australian Defence Force veterans in 2019 as part of Robe to Recovery, after organisers met with the Eyre Peninsula Legacy Club last week.
Robe to Recovery is a community veteran respite program established in 2015 by Robe resident Jacqui Bateman and retired serviceman Justin Brown from Streaky Bay.
It is estimated in 2017 that 84 veterans died by suicide, with many others in the returned services community suffering from substance abuse, family break downs and isolation issues.
Mr Brown served in the Australian Army and said since the program’s inception it had helped about 33 veterans recover, reconnect and reintegrate.
“There is a disconnection for soldiers when they return home from war and try to rejoin the community,” he said.
“It can be difficult for them to reconnect…some even feel abandoned by the forces as they may have been medically discharged.”
The program supports veterans suffering from physical and psychological injuries to help strengthen their emotional and social well being.
The short respite program provides veterans and their families with complimentary accommodation, gift vouchers, local activities and other gifts during their stay to help recovery and reintegration.
Mr Brown said the messages of thanks and welcome that local communities put with their donations had touched the veterans most.
“To have a community of people who don’t know them at all welcome them into the town and write them a personal note...that has had the biggest impact,” Mr Brown said.
He said the program was just starting to gain momentum with other areas wanting to join the program.
Eyre Peninsula Legacy Club president Tom Kenny said the idea to bring the program to the Eyre Peninsula was sparked by the recent Invictus Games.
“It will rely on the people... and the sponsorship and good will of the entire region,” he said.
“We will be looking for accommodation, leisure experiences, fishing, pamper packages, dining and anything else people can give.”
Mr Kenny said they hoped to have the program up and running in the region by next February or March.
Anyone looking to help out or donate to the program can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Robe to Recovery Facebook page.