A DALBY man's confronting story of his experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam War and how he coped beyond the battlefield hits close to home for members of the Dalby Men's Shed.
Local author Sheryl Chappell delved into years of suppressed memories with the Vietnam veteran, who wished to be referred to as Ray, to compile her touching new book, Long Road Home.
Sheryl worked as a counsellor and in community service for many years in Brisbane before she moved to Dalby.
Her father was a war veteran and she always had an interest in war history and how returned veterans coped. Sheryl met Ray at the Dalby Rotary Club and noticed he exhibited "unusual behaviours".
She discovered he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and had never shared his stories, despite previous time in treatment.
This began six months of documented counselling sessions between Sheryl and Ray, where Ray revealed scarily accurate accounts of his experiences.
"He remembered it like it was yesterday. It felt like I was there," Sheryl said.
After 300 hours of research and 12 months of writing, Sheryl had the book independently published and set Ray's burden free.
Sheryl said Long Road Home's focus on the symptoms of PTSD is relevant to the Men's Shed's focus on mental health.
"People who read the book will be able to recognise the symptoms and relate them to others," she said.
"Returned soldiers need understanding more than anyone."
Men's Shed co-ordinator Leith Tebbit said the shed felt privileged to be presented with one of the first stories on a local digger.
Sheryl's book can purchased by contacting her on 0406 281 959 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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