Children recognised for their part in dad's stress battle
THE RAVAGES of war can take a huge toll on a soldier.
What many people don't realise is the toll it can take on their families.
For this reason, two very brave young Tweed students were awarded medals for their bravery and support as they live through their father's Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of his combat in Afghanistan.
The impact of a Taliban rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) has left Sgt Major Paul Chapman "shell shocked."
He fights daily to regain his former composure and ditch the effects on his psyche and his body of his commanding role in a war zone far from home.
Lily and Merrick Chapman didn't sign up to go to war.
But war came knocking on their door when their dad, Sgt Major Paul Chapman was posted to Afghanistan.
Dreading the news on TV each time a soldier's death in Afghanistan was flashed on-screen was traumatic enough.
But when their dad returned with combat PTSD their world, along with their stoic mum, Lisa, was turned upside down.
They have both been traumatised and are dealing with secondary effects of the disorder.
The two were presented with medals at St Joseph's Primary School today by local MP Justine Elliot.
"It was quite a surprise," said 12 year-old Merrick.
"His big sister Lily attends St Joseph's College.
"Getting a medal came as a bit of a shock," she said.
"But it's really great that what we have been going through has been recognised.
"It's hard to relate to other students what it's like to see your dad go through this terrible thing.
"My friends have been very supportive.
"But they can't truly understand what it's like."
"Presenting the medals to these brave young students was a privilege," Mrs Elliot said.
"We should always be mindful of what families can go through when a parent is in the defence force."
St Joseph's primary School principal Tony Boyle said it was great to see the students acknowledged.
"Families put up with a lot when a parent goes to war," he said.
Principal of St Joseph's College Eric Littler said the award was a show of support.
"These kids face enough just in growing up, without the added stress of war impacting on their lives."