A message from Tony Pearce - ESF Chair, and Siusan McKenzie - ESF CEO
We have made the difficult decision to postpone Tony’s Trek until the new year.
Tony sustained an injury three months ago while training which has not healed sufficiently for him to safely proceed with the Trek. We appreciate the impact of this decision for all concerned.
We are rescheduling to begin on 10 March and finishing on 5 May 2023 following the same route.
As we all well know, things don’t always go to plan, but we are determined to approach this with positivity. Just like dealing with the mental health struggles we are seeking to raise awareness of through the Trek, we will get there by seeking help and hope you will continue on the Trek with us – one step at a time.
29 August 2022
About the Trek
Over 50 days Tony Pearce will walk 1440 kilometres across Victoria to raise awareness of the mental health toll that emergency service work can take on our emergency workers.
In addition to his job as Victoria’s independent Inspector-General, Tony also holds the voluntary role of Chair of the Emergency Services Foundation (External link) (ESF).
On 10 March 2023, he’ll leave the State Control Centre in East Melbourne taking the first step of Tony’s Trek to support and raise awareness of ESF’s work in frontline and support roles.
Visit Tony’s fundraising page (External link) to find out how to get involved or support the Trek.
Why Tony's Trek?
During his trek Tony will travel through many of the areas affected by Victoria's 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires acknowledging the mental health impacts those fires had – and continue to have – on emergency workers and community members alike.
Throughout Tony’s nearly forty years in the emergency management sector, he’s seen many colleagues suffer from service-related trauma.
‘Unfortunately, trauma often results in mental health injury with lasting impacts throughout their career and into retirement’, says Tony.
Recovery from mental health injury is a personal journey that involves taking one step at a time.
‘I hope that Tony’s Trek will raise awareness of the importance of mental health in the emergency management community who support Victorians before, during and after emergencies’, he says.
Tony’s also aiming to raise valuable funds for ESF to implement two pioneering, prevention programs which will provide benefit to all members of Victoria’s emergency management community – paid and volunteer.
For Tony, it will be one step at a time to achieve this goal and personal physical feat.
‘It’s a big undertaking’, says Tony ‘but one I truly believe will make a significant contribution to improving mental health outcomes for our paid and volunteer emergency workforce’.
Listen to Tony's story
To find out more and get involved through donation or joining the walk, visit Tony’s fundraising page (External link).