Fighting Back

Bushmaster explosion

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From the battlefields of Afghanistan to the peaceful fields of two wells, Craig Hansen settles into his new life, with a little help from his friends…

Former Australian Defence Force sniper and new Two Wells resident, Craig Hansen, has had a long road to recovery since being badly injured in the line of duty in 2008.

While serving in Afghanistan Craig was travelling in an armoured vehicle when an improvised explosive device (IED) struck.

A sergeant at the time, commanding the battalion sniper section, Craig, along with two other Australian soldiers and one Afghan interpreter, was seriously injured in the blast, which saw him spend 11 weeks in hospital and many more months undergoing operations, rehabilitation and physio.

At the time he was only the second Australian soldier to be injured in the war in Afghanistan.

Later he was diagnosed with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and discharged from the ADF in November 2013.

Due to his extensive injuries, Craig, 38, is unable to work at any time in the future, but is determined to be as independent and as self-supporting as possible.

He, along with wife, Kelly and children Jaudyn, Tayla and Jayke, recently moved to a small property at Two Wells, which requires a ride-on mower to help him maintain the grounds.

To assist him with this, a group of ex-service organisations, including Vietnam Veteran’s Association, held a fundraising event at the Linden Park RSL on Friday, January 31.

Other ex-service organisations also chipped in with the effort, as did Bunnings, with football commentator and Vietnam veteran, Graham Cornes, a special guest at the event.

“As strange as it is, mowing your lawn can be quite therapeutic at times,” Craig said.

“Being outside, listening to my iTunes and mowing the lawn is quite relaxing.”

Craig said he had been given great support throughout his long road to recovery and is appreciative of everyone’s efforts to help him.

“We don’t go out there to get blown up and have all this sort of fanfare,” he said.

“But on one hand it’s been good in the regard the Royal Australian Regimental Association, the RSL, that’s what they are there for, to support wounded, injured and ill soldiers.

“And the support my close friends and mates gave was awesome.

“I look back and see photos of inside the vehicle, different weapons, stuff that was cut in half, stuff that just disintegrated and I got out of the vehicle and didn’t have any body parts missing.

“As some of my mates say, I was lucky.”

Lucky – maybe. Brave – definitely. Thanks for your service Craig; you are an inspiration to us all.

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