A Vietnam veteran from Tallangatta is on a one-man crusade to raise money for Victorian police officers injured in an explosion in Melbourne in January.
Peter Renshaw, known as “Rags” to his mates, will set out next week from Tallangatta for South Melbourne police station, stopping at stations on the way, raising money to pay for the officers’ treatment.
Mr Renshaw, 63, was on a regular ride day after Sgt Tony Scully, First Constable Emma Quick and Constable Varli Blake suffered horrific injuries in a blast at a Middle Park unit when checking on a resident.
“I decided I’d ride to Melbourne and everyone said: ‘You’re joking’,” Mr Renshaw said.
“I’ll do it by myself — I’ve got a young bloke to drive a camper van.
“People said I wouldn’t do it so that made me want to do it more.”
Mr Renshaw was 19 when he served in Vietnam in a supply and transport workshop.
He said the stigma Vietnam veterans had suffered meant there was no help when they returned and, in some way, that experience has pushed him to support Sgt Scully and constables Quick and Blake.
“Nobody helped us — it took 20 years to have a welcome-home parade,” he said.
“When I was a child, my mother always said ‘if you ever need help, go to the police’,” he said.
“And these officers need a lot of help.”
Wodonga Acting Sen-Sgt Paul Brady said police were not often thanked, but in times of crisis the community showed its true colours.
Sen-Sgt Brady would know — in 2005 he was diagnosed with life-threatening cancer and was overwhelmed with donations to help pay for his treatment.
“When things happen, it’s amazing the support we receive from most of the community,” Sen-Sgt Brady said.
“What Mr Renshaw is doing shows support from the community and it’s also an appreciation of the risks police take every day.”
Mr Renshaw thanked businesses Bicycle Superstore, The Full Cycle, Pushy’s and Attack Sports for their support.
Mr Renshaw will set off from the Tallangatta police station at 7.30am on Saturday week and ride to the Wodonga station with a contingent of police. He said others were welcome to join in.
His route will take in Yarrawonga, Echuca, Bendigo, Ballarat before he arrives at South Melbourne on Wednesday, April 16.
For more information phone Mr Renshaw on (02) 6071 2959.
You can deposit donations directly to the Victoria Police, The Police Association and BankVic “Tony, Emma and Varli Recovery Fund” at BSB: 704 230, account number: 100 484 824.