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David Esler, Trek2Health Headquarters, December 2021

Part 1 (Speech edited to create a slightly shorter written version).

Welcome. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is David Esler, I”m the chairman here at Trek2Health and for those of you who know me, i normally try to keep my speaking short and sweet. Tonight is really about the people that make this happen. So I’ll speak a little bit longer tonight, acknowledging the people that make this happen, so bear with me while I go through a few things.

So the house you’re standing in, we took over this place in September just last year. And if you managed to get a look here in the daylight, it hadn’t been used for 30 years, there was literally paint sheeting off the walls. There were possums living up onto the eaves, there were doors that weren’t working… this place was derelict, and in the past 14 or so months, has been transformed by thousands of hours of volunteer time by many of the people in this room, also by many soldiers at the Garrison Enoggera and we’ve had lots and lots of items donated by various businesses around town. Special mention of Bunnings on that one: the carpet you’re standing on, the paint on the walls, the timber for the furniture, on all donated by Bunnings.

Then there’s the volunteers at Trek2Health. This army of selfless people that just turn up, spend their time here, don’t ask for anything in return, and then disappear. Often we’ll don’t even know they’ve been here, they kind of come and go, and great things happen.

Bruce in previous businesses, has been able to provide a tremendous amount of equipment, it’s gone to Trek2Health. So this charitable organisation is being kickstarted of the sheer force of will by a lot of people and by a lot of generosity.

Then we started running some treks. Now the Trek house, the house that we’re in tonight, is really the heart and soul of how we get to kick this thing off. We started running a couple of small treks, and they were well run, Bruce runs a very good trek. And we ran a couple of medium sized tracks and we started to receive some grants from government from corporate and  we got some things like furniture, computer equipment, it all started to come together. Then people got involved with things like payment websites, IT systems marketing. Again, it’s a lot of volunteer time and donated very generously to Trek2Health.

We ran some bigger treks, an overnight, Midnight to Dawn Trek, many of you here participated in that trek and Anzac Day and we ran the beat Midnight Blue Trek just recently with the Queensland Police Service. Again, very well run, successful treks.

Now we started knocking out some very, very successful modules for our clients. Our CEO Bruce, true to his word, has put these things together to deliver our service, with a tremendous amount of support by people in this room to bring the actual programmes to life, and allow the facilitation and direct direct delivery all the modules to the people we’re here to support.

And again, none of it’s possible without the volunteers who are here tonight, the board can’t do it all, Bruce can’t do it all. We can’t do it all without help and it’s the team that’s come together to support this charity that allows that to happen. Be under no mistake that without you guys volunteering, none of this happens.

I also want to just discuss the impact that these modules make. We’ve got participants of the modules here tonight, and most of the impacts that these modules deliver… you’ll never hear about it. You’ll never hear about the little breakthrough someone had on kilometre 15 of an 18 kilometre walk. You’ll never hear about the little piece of self discovery that made a difference in the relationship they have with their kids after a long night in the 23rd hour of no sleep. You’ll never hear about it because it’s a personal breakthrough in their private life.

But make no mistake that the impacts and the difference that Green Exercise Training has made to our clients, carries through their everyday life and across their life, and allows them to be better at what they do serving the community.

We’re here helping those that help us. We serve those that serve us.

So we’re facilitating directly, it’s not some wishy washy sort of third order effect, it’s directly benefitting the people who go out there and serve us every day. So I really want you to get present to the difference that you make, to the lives of the people that serve our community.

So as an Army veteran myself, four tours of war-like conditions, three tours of Afghanistan, I’ve personally impacted by my service. I’ve got friends personally impacted by their service. There are people in this room right now personally impacted by their service. And it’s programmes like these that allow people that we support to deal with, and cope with, and recover and build resilience from, whatever they’ve been impacted by from their service.

Everyone here tonight is making a direct impact on that So please – be present. Also just want to cover the benefit to volunteering, there’s there’s the sense of contribution back to the community. Supporting those that support us. As a volunteer, we get to set an example to our kids and our community. So, although it’s not about us, part of it is about us, we get to give back and this creates positive change for everyone involved.

Now I’d like to acknowledge specifically – Bruce Barker. Bruce Bruce is absolutely the force behind Trek2Health, Bruce is the heart and soul of Trek2Health; he really drives this place. His commitment to the charity, and to the people we’re supporting is unparalleled in the organisation. So Bruce really… (drowned out by applause).

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