Paddling for a cause

By David Rak

Preparations are in full swing for Team Forge Through to take on the Massive Murray paddle.

The week-long 404km event is a race along the Murray River from Yarrawonga to Swan Hill in November.

The race raises money for great causes and charities from around Australia, with each team raising money for its chosen cause.

Forge Through is an organisation supporting first responders and veterans.

It was founded by bladesmith Dean Hamilton, who created the program to provide a creative getaway for veterans and first responders dealing with the mental and physical stress of their careers.

After competing in the event for the first time last year, team member Rob Fifield was hooked and knew he had to do it again.

“It’s a five-day event and it’s a tough and gruelling race that challenges you mentally and physically,” he said.

“Forge Through is about giving past and present veterans and emergency service workers a chance to unplug from the world for a couple of days and learn something about the ancient art of knife forging. “Dean and his wife, Gina, fund the project from their own pocket and run 12 programs a year on their farm helping many front-line emergency personnel and veterans with mental health issues.

“We are aiming to raise $5000, with 100 per cent of funds raised going directly to running the courses and improving the facilities for the benefit of the veterans and first responders.”

The paddle team will consist of Rob Fifield, Adam Hore, Amanda Wyllie, Ben Hutt and Jeff Bott-Sherman, and Dean Hamilton will head the road and support crew along with another three participants of the Forge Through program.

‘‘Forge Through not only runs 12 programs a year but is building a community and a family through its hard work,’’ Rob said.

‘‘It is allowing participants to know they are not alone and can work through any issues they may have, with support.

“We thank you in advance for any donation large or small that goes towards this fantastic initiative helping people who have spent their careers looking after Australians.”

To donate, visit

For more information, visit the Team Forge Through Massive Murray Paddle Facebook page.