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Veteran father talks mental health and post-service life

Joel Sardi starts new training journey, marking the start of Melbourne Legacy ambassadorship and pledge to  empower more families of veterans as they navigate life post-service 

As a father, veteran, and C5 paraplegic, Joel Sardi knows better than anyone the importance  of support, family and community. 

In the first step of a meaningful partnership to empower and support the families of veterans, Melbourne Legacy  have signed Sardi as their newest ambassador. 

The ambassadorship begins with the funding of a customised bike, helping Sardi embark on his competition training  journey – a goal born out of the aim to challenge himself, improve his mental health, and assist his ability to support  his family. 

Nearly half of ex-serving defence personnel transitioning into civilian life report high levels of mental struggles after leaving the military, resulting in both personal and family strain. Sardi hopes that through publicising his  journey, bolstered by the support of Melbourne Legacy, other families of veterans will see that anything is possible  with the right support. 

“This ambassadorship is more than a set of wheels. It’s an opportunity for me to show other families of veterans  that it’s okay and necessary to reach out for support. Lots of people don’t know there is a big veteran community ready to take you under their arms and help guide you through challenging times. All you have to do is make the  call.” Sardi says. 

Joel’s family has been a long-standing beneficiary of Melbourne Legacy since 2020, following his accident in  2014, leaving him paralysed from the chest down. Sardi is all too familiar with the loneliness and isolation that  families of veterans can experience in times of hardship.  

He wishes to lead by example through this ambassadorship, encouraging modern day veterans and new  generations of families to make contact with Melbourne Legacy and the veteran community, which he acknowledges  is not always an easy thing to do. 

“Melbourne Legacy have been a shining light for my family since my accident. They’ve shown my family the  importance of asking for help, and opened my eyes to a community so willing and ready to embrace peoples  unique circumstances post-service – whether mental health related, physical, or both.” he says. 

“This training journey marks a huge step forward in my life, helping me set my eyes on a fresh goal with a new found sense of motivation. I’m not only building mental and physical strength and resilience in this journey, but I’m  also showing family members of veterans the importance of setting goals and getting involved in the community.” 

Melbourne Legacy is in its 99th year of operation and provides unique support to families of veterans through community outreach, funding, financial assistance, children’s education, and programs to help families of veterans  navigate the wellbeing challenges. 

“We are delighted to announce Joel Sardi as our newest Melbourne Legacy ambassador. He has an intricate  connection to the veteran community and knows how important a holistic approach is – that is, support for the whole  family.” says Jo Moloney, CEO of Melbourne Legacy. 

“The struggles families of veterans face is very real and very prevalent. There are new generations coming through  and this remains a pertinent issue. We encourage families of all generations, and any circumstance to pick up the  phone and chat to us about their situation, and how they might be eligible for support.” 

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