Home' Air Force News : November 21st 2013 Contents DANIELLE McCORMACK
TA XATION AND ACCOUNTING
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November 21, 2013
THE charity Soldier On was
born from a conversation
between co-founders Army
CAPT John Bale and FLTLT
Cavin Wilson at Headquarters Joint
Operations Command (HQJOC) in
They were working together at
HQJOC as watchkeepers and both of
them had deployed to the Middle East
Area of Operations and had seen what
affects conflict could have on ADF per-
"John was a mate of LT Michael
Fussell, who was killed in action by an
IED in Uruzgan province on November
27, 2008," FLTLT Wilson said.
"I had deployed to the MEAO in
2010 as a Joint Movements Officer
working at Al Minhad Air Base and in
"Part of my job there was to coordi-
nate the repatriation of ADF personnel
who were wounded, injured and killed
After his experience there, he began
to understand how the war affected the
personnel he was assisting.
"Although I wasn't on the frontline
in Tarin Kot, seeing what happened to
them and how their lives had been per-
manently changed began to even affect
me," FLTLT Wilson said.
"I saw how their lives would be
changed, such as personnel who played
cricket who would never again bat
or bowl because of mangled hands.
Others would have to re-learn how to
live with their families and function in
their communities with psychological
and physical wounds."
FLTLT Wilson and CAPT Bale
decided to use their experiences
as inspiration to provide money for
injured and wounded personnel, and
the families of those killed on opera-
"It started quite small, John and
I really just wanted to try and raise
money to give to a charity we assumed
already existed to help wounded per-
sonnel," FLTLT Wilson said.
"Then we found out Australia
didn't have a charity like the UK's
Help for Heroes or a Wounded Warrior
Project like the US."
Making a difference
Since its inception in March last year, the charity Soldier On has
raised more than $2 million to help returned ADF servicemen and
women. WO2 Andrew Hetherington speaks to one of the
co-founders, FLTLT Cavin Wilson.
The main goal of Soldier On when
it was officially recognised as a charity
in March 2012 was to provide addi-
tional assistance to ADF personnel.
"Our initial broad, vague concept
was to help soldiers," FLTLT Wilson
"When former Chief of Army
LTGEN Peter Leahy (retd) came on
board after we spoke to him and others
who had more exposure to wounded
soldiers than we did, we discovered
other ways we could assist.
"We came up with three main areas
where we could make a difference,
which were beyond the work govern-
ment and the ADF were already doing.
"We didn't want to try to duplicate
what they were already doing well."
The first of the three pillars of the
charity are to "enhance" the stand-
ard of care for the wounded, such as
providing funds to purchase specialist
equipment for hospitals.
The next is to "inspire" the
wounded to give them a goal to get
out and integrate with society again,
through activities such as the expedi-
tion to Antarctica -- the South Pole
Allied Challenge. (Two soldiers, CPL
Seamus Donaghue and PTE Heath
Jamieson, with two members from
the Canadian Armed Forces, will form
Team Soldier On and take part in the
335km ski race across the Antarctic
against a British team lead by Prince
Harry, as well as a team from the
United States between November 25
and December 19.)
The third is to "empower" the
wounded through education and future
"Empowerment is the future and
ultimate goal for the charity, as some-
one can get back on their feet and start
running again and be motivated, but
their future relies on them being able
work again," FLTLT Wilson said.
"So we've been working with
many large Australian organisations
to ensure there will be guaranteed edu-
cation, training and employment for
personnel who've been wounded psy-
chologically and physically."
FLTLT Wilson is currently in the
UK on full-time study and is work-
ing with Soldier On as a partner and
The charity has raised more than
$2 million in just over a year and has
provided direct support to more than
100 returned servicemen and women.
To donate or purchase merchandise to sup-
port Soldier On, visit http://soldieron.org.au
For more information about the Walking
with the Wounded South Pole Allied
Challenge, visit http://walkingwith-
PROUD: Governor-General Quentin Bryce congratulates
PTE Liam Haven at the Australian War Memorial as Soldier
On CEO and co-founder CAPT John Bale looks on. PTE
Haven, who was wounded in Afghanistan, walked 350km
from Sydney to Canberra in September to raise money
for the charity. Inset, Soldier On co-founder FLTLT Cavin
Photos: Steve Dent and David McClenaghan
Photo: CPL Mark Doran
RUNNING FOR CHARITY: FLTLT Alex Danishyar leads a pack of runners during the Sand to Sand
charity run for Soldier On at Multinational Base Tarin Kot on August 17.
Photo: CPL Mark Doran
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