This piece was written and provided by Brett Martin of FTMA Bronze Sponsor, Independent Hardware Group.

Driving in to work earlier this week, as usual, I had the radio on (don’t label me, it was Gold FM) – and like most, just for some background noise on the journey.

Unusually, there was a story that got my full attention. Shane Crawford (Ex AFL star player for Hawthorn) returned to the talk show after some absence. He was there primarily to promote his next venture, but the introduction to his return was a little more close to home. Some weeks back Shane lost his brother to suicide and he shared his, and his family, grief and heartache of the loss. What took my attention was some of the self blame that Shane took upon himself – had he missed something, a sign, some comment, some action that could have prevented such a tragedy. Unfair, in my mind, to place that upon yourself – but I have not experienced what he has just gone through.

Hard as it is , Shane recognised that his brother will be forever in his heart, but life must go on. He implored all listeners to stay close to their loved ones and constantly check in.

A fitting reminder, given that September 8, 2022, is RUOK Day, and we should all check in with our mates. It’s not a huge task to find out RUOK?

There is a purpose to this prelude.

Back in 2018, I was fortunate enough to attend the FTMA NZ annual conference in the company of our very own Kersten Gentle and Mike Mostert from Combilift. There, keynote speaker Sir John Kirwan (capped 63 times with the All Blacks) spoke openly of his battle with depression and how his connection and opening up with family and football network saved him. It was throughout this presentation that recognition hit home of my own issues and the need to share with my family and close friends – which I did upon our return.

Since that trip across the ditch I have continued to have open conversations with family, friends and indeed the working network I’m involved with. And, I do that in many different ways.

The Independent Hardware Group follows the basic principal of Family, Village, TRIBE. The family being our store network, these forming villages within designated territories, working together as part of a larger TRIBE. We connect with all via different mediums, be it regular face to face at store level, in structured village/regional meetings and with a coming together to celebrate all things as a TRIBE at our National Conference each year. Each of these opportunities allow open discussion on wins, losses, successes and pain points and when shared with others solutions are found, wins are celebrated and a collaboration of unity, understanding that no one stands alone and there is a collective strength in being connected.

That’s my drive – bringing connection to the network, building strength from that network. There is strength in numbers, there is value in your experience and knowledge and there is a sense of reward when this is shared with others.

Brett Martin

Business Manager – Trade Operations

Independent Hardware Group | 19 Corporate Drive Heatherton Victoria 3202

P: 0419 734 178| E:

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