About a year ago, two Australian soldiers wanted to do something for their mates and colleagues that had been wounded, physically or mentally, on contemporary operations, but realised there was nowhere specific that gave direct support to wounded soldiers. They were amazed. Australian allies had these type of organisations but Australia didn’t.
Obviously, as soldiers, they weren’t men who sit around and wait for things to happen, they took action and by January this year Soldier On was registered as a new charity.
Co Founders, Cavin Wilson and John Bale, say Soldier On is about Australians coming together to show their support for our wounded. While they believe the Australian Defence Force does a great job with supporting returned service men and women, they felt there was an opportunity to provide more direct support to individuals and their families through community engagement and creating awareness.
For Soldier On it’s not just about physical wounds; the organisation wants to generate greater public awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) too. Defence estimates that 8 per cent, or just under 2,500 of those deployed between 2002 and 2009, now have PTSD.
Their main activities will be providing care packages for children of wounded soldiers to help them better cope with their family’s situation, purchasing Robotic Locomotion Therapy equipment for the St Andrews War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane to help soldiers learn to walk again and providing opportunities for wounded veterans to participate in challenging races that are proven to help aid successful physical and psychological rehabilitation.
Launched in only April this year – quite appropriately on Anzac Day – Soldier On already has some credible support behind them with patrons including entertainer Normie Rowe, author Bryce Courtenay and singer Tina Arena.
We acknowledge John, Cavin and their work at Soldier On this Thank You Thursday. Not only heroes for their service as soldiers overseas themselves, but heroes for seeing a need and working to improve the lives of others back home in Australia.
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick