Between a walk and a hard place

Published on LEUT Will Singer (author), CPOIS Damian Pawlenko (photographer)

Topic(s): Charities and Fundraising, Health, Fitness and Wellbeing, Legacy

Chief Petty Officer Medic Tristan
Chief Petty Officer Medic Tristan "Banger" Harris with his walking buggy at HMAS Stirling.

Navy’s own ‘Forrest Gump’ will walk from west coast to east coast, a distance of more 4,200 kilometres, in support of Legacy.

Reserve Chief Petty Officer Medic Tristan Harris, usually works at HMAS Albatross on the New South Wales south coast, and said selecting Legacy as the choice of charity was clear from the minute he decided to venture on the journey.

“During my tours of the Middle East, I imagined what would become of my family if the worst was to happen and the fact that Legacy was there, ready to step up and provide assistance - was reassuring,” he said.

“Physical resilience is built by exercise, however I believe general daily exercise also provides a solid basis for a clear and focused mental resilience.”

His walk will take him from Navy’s Western Australian homeport of HMAS Stirling in Rockingham, to the home of officer training at HMAS Creswell on the shores of Jervis Bay, south of Sydney.

He said that professional challenges that required mental resilience were his inspiration after being deployed in Iraq.

“I assisted a US Expeditionary Medical Support System team in Baghdad following a terrorist attack on the United Nations Headquarters in Baghdad,” he said.

“The bombing claimed the lives of 22 people despite brave paramedical medical assistance to the injured civilians in a hostile and stressful environment.”

During the walk, he will be exposed to some of the harshest environmental conditions in Australia and will only carry water and basic food, contained in his push trolley.

The longer sections of the Nullarbor will be supported by food parcels that will be sent to stops for resupply.

“My plan is to prevent injury through a ‘slow and steady' pace and I have only two dates to meet the start and finished date, this will greatly reduce the possibility of stress injury,” he said.

“To switch my brain off, I listen to music while I walk and sing.

“I will be keeping in touch by taking some technology on the road including my iPhone and iPad, with a battery with a small solar panel to keep it charged.

The walk commenced from Stirling on 1 May and is expected to finish by 31 October.

Donations towards the cause can be made at: http://www.walkacrossoz.com/how-to-donate--help.html

Reserve Chief Petty Officer Medic Tristan Harris, usually works at HMAS Albatross on the New South Wales south coast, and said selecting Legacy as the choice of charity was clear from the minute he decided to venture on the journey.