Wagga community broadcasters have launched an appeal to track down two former soldiers who reunited on air after decades apart in an emotion-charged Anzac Day program.
The extraordinary encounter – that occurred not among the pomp and ceremony of prearranged commemorations – but in a humble 2AAA radio studio – attracted a worldwide response and left a Riverina man in tears.
Alan Lean took to the airwaves in his regular Saturday night slot when he took a call from a listener known only as Alex from The Rock.
A song request turned to a conversation about the listener's background, where Mr Lean learned The Rock man was a former soldier who served in Afghanistan and Somalia.
Shortly afterwards Mr Lean fielded a second call from Leeton.
The caller – known as “Gunner Gaz" – told the host the soldier had saved his life while caught in a war zone firefight.
He had been hit in the legs and "was in a mess" when The Rock man dragged him to safety and sung a Cold Chisel song to keep him from passing out.
“It was the beauty of radio, the instantaneous of radio that made this happen," Mr Lean said.
“It blew me away.”
Less than 30 minutes later the first caller rang back in tears and told Mr Lean he had been fighting a years-long battle with post traumatic stress and depression.
The caller said the encounter and the centenary of Anzac had given him a reason to live again.
“He was bawling his eyes,” Mr Lean said.
"When you hear this and all the stories of the soldiers who battle problems like these, you realise it is a pretty big issue.”
Mr Lean was unsuccessful in his attempts to track down the two soldiers as of yesterday afternoon.
He said he would trace phone book records to find Alex, but believed he would encounter difficulty in locating the Leeton man.
He ultimately wants the two men to meet in person in Wagga.
“They should come together. For this to happen in all of the places, but on radio, is a good story,” Mr Lean said.
Do you know more? Phone the reporter on 6938 3316 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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