Thank you, Jason Jinks for sharing your story to empower more veterans who may need help. It’s always Brave To Ask!
“It’s always hard to put your hand up and say, ‘I need help’, and I really didn’t want to do it, but their empathy was so real.”
He has seen the horror of war but Jason Jinks has no regrets about his 16 years with the Australian Army.
The Iraq War veteran usually goes to the dawn service on Anzac Day and has at times marched in the parade.
“For me it’s about commemorating and honouring the service of those who went before us and either catching up with, or thinking about all the guys and girls I did serve with,” Mr Jinks said.
“We’ve lost certain people and of course you miss them, but it’s actually a day where I think of the good times.
“It wasn’t just about giving to the country – it was a sense of purpose, a sense of pride with my mates.
“It’s about the commitment to the bloke beside you, in your unit, doing all that.”
Mr Jinks, 49, moved from Victoria to the Huon Valley in 2020, joined the Army in 1991 and had active service in Iraq in 2004 and peacekeeping in Bougainville in 2000.
He is on a TPI pension because of his injuries.
For four months he was deployed to Iraq as part of the security detachment for the Australian Embassy and was haunted by the death of a young boy after a bombing.
“He’d been selling soft drink bottles on the corner opposite our building every day.
“They tried to blow us up at certain times and when there was a car bomb, a VBIED incident, and the young child was killed, the locals actually put a lot of blame on us.
“Even though we had nothing to do with it, they blamed us because we were there.”
After that deployment he decided to leave the Army because he didn’t like some of the decisions being made but later returned for four years in the Reserves.
For 10 years he blocked the boy’s death from his mind.
“And then it sort of crept its way into the forefront of my consciousness and that’s when, with the encouragement of my wife, I started counselling and I would encourage anyone that does have any issues that they think are going to affect their lives to seek out the support that is available.”
“I’m in a brilliant spot now.”
Mr Jinks also sought financial help from the Bravery Trust which marks its 10 year anniversary this year and has provided financial support for more than 6,000 veterans and their families.
“I was going through a bit of a difficult patch, I was sort of in a dark space and we had a couple of big bills and other financial things pop up and a friend recommended Bravery Trust.
“It’s always hard to put your hand up and say, ‘I need help and I really didn’t want to do it but their empathy was so real.”
Mr Jinks decided to give back to the Trust and volunteered a day a week in administration and revamped the application process.
With his bad back and mental health issues he decided to take up archery and in 2017 competed for Australia in the Invictus Games in Canada.
He was “devastated” when he didn’t go as well as he had hoped.
“I was honoured to be able to represent my country again.
“When you’ve been to some bad places where you’ve got no confidence in your body or your health to actually have someone empower you to say, ‘no, you are good enough’ was worth it.”
As published in The Tasmanian Mercury April 24, 2022.