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Hank Duchateau

Veterans Supporting Veterans: Hank’s Generosity Towards Invictus Competitor 

In a heartwarming display of camaraderie and support among veterans, a generous act by Hank Duchateau, a former member of the Australian Army, has provided James Barker, a competitor in the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023, with a chance to prepare for his moment on the world stage. Hank’s selfless gesture of donating a hand cycle has allowed James, a member of Team Australia, to train more effectively for his adaptive cycling event, showcasing the true spirit of “Unconquered Together.” 

James Alexander Barker’s Invictus Games Journey

James Alexander Barker, a proud member of Team Australia, is gearing up to compete in the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023. Among the sports in which he will participate, cycling is one of them, and he will be using a specially designed hand cycle suitable for adaptive events. As a recipient of Hank’s donated hand cycle, James expresses immense gratitude for the support he has received as an individual with lived experience.

I am forever grateful for the opportunity that Hank has provided me and the unwavering unconditional support (of) veterans supporting veterans.

Whilst my career in the Australian army wasn’t as long as Hank’s proud career, I hope that I have inspired others to have an opportunity like I have (in the Invictus Games)! I truly would like to meet Hank to thank him in person one day.

james alexander barker

veteran & member of team australia:invictus Games

The loan of the hand cycle has given him the opportunity to lead an active life, demonstrating the Australian way of supporting like-minded people and veterans in their pursuit of wellness through sports. 

Hank Duchateau’s Inspirational Journey

At the age of 75, Hank Duchateau, a veteran with a rich history of service in the Australian Army, has become a trailblazer for adaptive mountain biking in Australia. Despite facing service-related injuries that led to his medical discharge in 1978 and forced him into a wheelchair in 1993, Hank remained undeterred and determined to improve his physical and mental health. Taking up adaptive cycling, he found a newfound love for the sport and made it his mission to normalize adaptive mountain biking, leading the way for others to follow. 

Photos of Hank Duchateau – provided by Hank

Hank’s generous act

Hank proactively reached out to Invictus Australia to donate the off-road hand cycle. His wish was simple – to find a deserving military veteran who would benefit from the hand cycle and experience the same joy it had given him. Invictus Australia swiftly located a worthy recipient, and with their help, the hand cycle was transported to its new home in South Australia. Hank’s act of kindness not only epitomises the support veterans offer one another but also highlights his dedication to expanding cycling opportunities within the veteran community. 

looking ahead for hank

Hank has no plans of slowing down. He is determined to continue mountain biking, competing in state and national competitions while working towards expanding cycling opportunities for fellow veterans. His dedication and selflessness serve as an inspiration to the entire veteran community, reminding them of the power of unity and support. 

grattitude & impact

Barker remains profoundly impacted by Hank’s generosity. Expressing his determination to continue cycling even after the Games, James is deeply grateful for the unwavering support that has allowed him to pursue his passion. 

The story of Hank Duchateau’s generous act and the subsequent impact on James Alexander Barker exemplifies the unwavering support and camaraderie within the veteran community. Hank’s dedication to adaptive mountain biking and his selfless donation of a hand cycle showcase the true meaning of “Unconquered Together.” As the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023 approaches, veterans like Hank continue to inspire and uplift the spirits of their comrades, proving that together, they can overcome any obstacle. 

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