Aussie veterans have been hailed as heroes for saving lives by feeding hundreds of hungry Afghans during a recent deployment.
The incident happened in Afghanistan’s Helmand province and took place on July 26, when Australian Veterans Affairs (VA) team members were transporting two Australian-registered vets from their base in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.
Veteran David Bouchard was among the four who assisted with feeding, which included taking a bottle of water to a woman in a tent nearby and bringing it to the woman with her three children.
She told the ABC she was hungry and had been waiting to go to bed but had to stay because she had to take her children to school.
“I was hungry when I got here, so I went in the tent and I just had to sit down and get some food,” she said.
After about five minutes, a woman, who was about 10 metres away from Bouchards feet, told him to “take her water and put it in her mouth”.
“She just came over and gave me a big spoon and took her water,” he said.
“She didn’t even know what was in there.
I mean, it was the most amazing thing that’s ever happened to me.”‘
I’m a man, I’m a father’Veteran Boucharard was one of several Australian vets who volunteered to help feed a woman.
But he said the sight of a family in need of food, even when it was a young child, was “really amazing”.
“I just had a really good feeling about that, it’s the most extraordinary thing that I’ve ever seen in my life,” he told the BBC.
“And I was like, ‘I’m not a man.
I’m not even a father, I can’t give a mother that.'”‘
It was a little bit scary’A family of three, who were not able to afford a meal for themselves, were not only fed, but given a warm hug.
They were able to go back to their camp after being separated for a few hours by the fire brigade and were later reunited with their children.
Veteran Dave Boucharon, who served in Afghanistan, was amongst the four veterans who helped a woman feed her children.
Photo: ABC NewsThe mother of one of the children, who did not want to be named, said the experience was “absolutely incredible”.
“It was really scary, I mean there was a lot of dust and stuff,” she told ABC Radio Brisbane.
“[We] were just just really overwhelmed and the whole time I was looking up at the flames, it just just looked so beautiful.”
The woman said she was grateful to have had the chance to volunteer for her children’s care.
“I’m really grateful for it,” she added.
“The vets were just there and the people they were helping were just really caring and they were just so good, they were really wonderful.”
You can’t describe it, it is just so special.
“Veteran John Boucharan, who had served in the US army for 17 years, described the experience as “amazing”.”
When you’re out there and you’re surrounded by flames and you don’t have any clothes on, and there’s no water and nothing to do, it really makes you feel that you are a part of the world,” he added.
‘It’s amazing’Veterans Boucharia and Bouchara, both from Queensland, were among the more than 30 Australian vets and staff who were present during the feeding operation.
Vets Boucharian and Bontaro, who also served in Iraq, were joined by Australian Veterans Services (VA), who were working to support Afghan women.
When the feeding began, the volunteers were accompanied by a number of Afghans, many of whom were nursing children.”
They were just looking at us with kind of a blank look, like they didn’t know what to do,” Bouchari said.’
They are all heroes’Veterals Bouchars and Bountaras said the incident showed that “people are capable of doing this”, and that it was “very empowering to see”.”
They are really good at this and they are all really heroes,” Bontaras added.