Creswick veteran Gary Charnock first created the characters of his new children’s book while on service with the army.
Over 20 years after sending the drawings home to his young children, Mr Charnock has published The Adventures of Sniffer and Flutter to raise funds for veteran support.
The book was launched in Creswick on Sunday.
People are coming home from war zones and they are still fighting a battle.Gary Charnock, Creswick veteran
Mr Charnock said his new children’s book aimed to raise awareness of the battles veterans face when they return home from service.
“People are coming home from war zones and they are still fighting a battle. Australia has lost more troops to suicide than they have done in Afghanistan and they’re still losing them now,” Mr Charnock said.
“The kids who are going to read it (the book), their parents need to understand that they could be tomorrow’s soldiers,” Mr Charnock said.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures show the suicide rate in 2001-2015 was 14 per cent higher among ex-serving men than all Australian men.
Twenty per cent of the profit from the sale of each of Mr Charnock’s book goes directly to the Help a Hero fund.
Mr Charnock said the funds would go toward creating a working community farm where veterans could live and work alongside members of the community.
“It gets them back into society… to give them self worth – the feeling that they are a part of society again and that people care about them,” he said.
Mr Charnock served with the British Army for over 14 years. He suffered an injury from an improvised explosive device in Northern Ireland before returning for another 11 years of service.
Mr Charnock said he was lucky to have a strong wife and family behind him when he returned home from service.
“When I came out I was very angry. I wanted to fight a lot,” Mr Charnock said.
“It’s about learning to control that aggression. It is learning to control the problems in your head and keeping them as far back as possible. You’ll never get rid of it, but you need to keep it back and go forward and find other things that can stimulate the brain and the mind.”
The book is on sale at Creswick Country Fresh.