A 101-year-old Australian veteran has raised a staggering amount of money while walking more than 90km to raise money for a worthy charity.
Sergeant Bert Le-Merton fought in the second World War and now, at 101 years old, he has walked 93.3km for Soldier On’s March On challenge, which strives to prevent veteran suicides.
While Sgt Le-Merton still has some three kilometres to go before completing his challenge, he has already smashed his fundraising goal of $10,000 and raised more than $79,000.
His goal is to walk 96km – the same length as the Kokoda Track.
Soldier On described Sgt Le-Merton as “true living legend”.
“His bravery and sacrifice during World War 2 is admirable to say the least, all in the name of defending our ‘sunburnt country, and land of sweeping plains’,” the charity said.
“It is clear that his passion for supporting our current and future generation of veterans and their families is close to his heart – and this is why he has chosen to invite you on this journey to support March On with Soldier On.”
The veteran credits his long life to walking every day and a 2017 article from the Mt Druitt-St Marys Standard explained locals had dubbed Sgt Le-Merton as St Clair’s “walking man”.
Speaking to Soldier On in a video, Sgt Le-Merton described those he served with as “family”, saying it was that support that got him through the war.
“And that's how we continue to deal with life after it was all over,” he said.
“Everyone out there should be helping to make the life of former personnel of the services a bit better.”
Soldier On supports veteran and their families by providing support that is made possible by Australians’ donations.
Online, people have expressed the gratitude and admiration for Sgt Le-Merton.
“You are amazing, the world would be a better place if more of us have your spirit and determination,” one person wrote while donating.
“Thank you for your service to our country,” another said.
“We are truly grateful. Wishing you lots of good wishes. Go Bert!”
Some have likened Sgt Le-Merton’s efforts to that of Captain Tom Moore, the 99-year-old English World War II veteran who walked laps around his garden raising money for the National Health Service.
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