Also Inside this edition:
Healing in Hawaii
PTSD at Christmas
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Contents Regular Items 5 6 30
Soldier On Update State Updates Book Review
Feature Stories 10
Timor veterans lay foundations for brighter future
Remembrance Day – did you take an extra minute?
Sleeping habits and issues
Leaps and bounds for hundreds of veterans seeking employment
Thank you to our 2015 sporting partners
Soldier On working to Enable Employment
22 22 23
Australia in the Great War
24 26 28
Healing in Hawaii
Soldier On hits TV screens across Australia!
Anzac Day 2016 set to challenge Empowering through education & employment
Soldier On fundraising ball Keeping an eye out for PTSD at Christmas
SOLDIER ON Summer 2015
Soldier On Get in touch Postal address PO Box 5186 Braddon ACT 2612 ACT/HQ: 0478 589 132 NSW/QLD: 02 9929 9576 VIC/TAS: 0439 665 409 WA: 0478 589 132 (Admin Enquiries) SA/NT: 0477 775 020
About Us Soldier On is about Australians coming together to show their support for our physically and psychologically wounded men and women. We want to show our sailors, soldiers, airmen and airwomen that we will always have their backs. Soldier On supports our veterans through: §§ Direct support services including contact through wounded liaison officers, psychological support, and other services delivered from Centres located throughout the country; §§ Adventurous and inspirational activities such as golf, cycling, running and many more programs promoting an active lifestyle; §§ Building a community of veterans and their families to facilitate peer support and the sharing of stories and experiences between our wounded; §§ Educational and employment opportunities, with courses offered online and face to face support available in a variety of fields with a dedicated online employment portal; and §§ A reintegration and recovery network offering a nationally coordinated approach where anyone can be linked with support services from organisations throughout Australia. In undertaking this work, Soldier On has grown from a volunteer run grassroots support network, to proudly providing support to hundreds of veterans and family members each month. The Reintegration and Recovery network is also expanding rapidly, with facilities opened in Sydney, Canberra, and Adelaide and staff working to establish Centres in Melbourne, Perth and Currumbin. To support Soldier On, please head to our website at SOLDIERON.ORG.AU
Advertising Advertisements in this journal are solicited from organisations and businesses on the understanding that no special considerations other than those normally accepted in respect of commercial dealings, will be given to any advertiser. Countrywide Austral adheres to stringent ethical advertising practices and any advertising inquiries should be directed to:
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Christmas – not always the most wonderful time of the year! Stressors that you have been managing can tip over into crisis during the holiday period. Between the ‘bells jingling’ or the carollers ‘singing’ even a visit to the supermarket at this time of year can be fraught. Add in the pressures of finding perfect presents and mandatory attendance at family and work functions and, well, it’s no surprise that some of us face the Christmas season with feelings of dread. When you’re managing depression, anxiety, adjustment disorder or PTSD, the holiday season can be especially tough. Christmas celebrations may trigger feelings of loss and isolation
often associated with sad memories. This is not uncommon, especially if you’re dealing with the impact of your service. Being aware of possible triggers and taking a few extra steps to take care of yourself over this period is important. If you have a smart phone, use an app like High Res or PTSD Coach to monitor how you are tracking each day. As an added bonus these apps can be set up to remind you to do a daily breathing exercise or meditation – it works! Try to keep up with your regular exercise routine – this can be tough as the days get hot, but the stress
reducing benefits of exercise will be worth it. Attending social functions can be one of the hardest things you do. Each small step you take to avoid social isolation, especially during holiday periods, is a big step towards recovery. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone! Reach out and talk to friends or connect with family. The Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) is also here to support you over the holiday period, just call 1800 011 046 anytime of the day or night, and talk to one of our clinicians.
VVCS – support when you need it.
VVCS provides free and confidential, nationwide counselling and support for war and service-related mental health and wellbeing conditions.
P03016 OCT 2015
Soldier On Update These past few months have been really exciting for Soldier On, as we saw more than half a million people engage with our Take an Extra Minute campaign over Remembrance Day.
e also saw hundreds of men and women seek support from our staff around the country, groups of veterans headed to Timor and Hawaii as part of their recovery, our very first Partners’ Weekend held in NSW and some amazing fundraisers in states across Australia.
Each month we grow, getting better at what we do and how we do it. However, the demand for our services is always greater than we can deliver. This is the fuel that drives the whole Soldier On team, working in each of the States, to ensure that veterans who might be doing it tough, family members who are worried about their loved ones, Australians who are looking for ways to support them, they all know that Soldier On is here for them.
We also have a fundraising lunch in Adelaide, with a group of fantastic Ambassadors helping out on the day. At the lunch, there will be an informal Q&A with former cyclist and gold medallist Stuart O’Grady OAM, passionate supporter and singer-songwriter Beccy Cole, and inspiring track cyclist Anna Meares OAM. Learn to Surf weekends are also being held across the country, giving families a great opportunity to reconnect and learn some fun new skills. Thanks, as always, for your support and for taking the time to learn more about what we do. We can’t wait to share with you bigger and better news in our next edition!
In November, we officially launched our partnership with Fujitsu Australia, who are providing some great support to Soldier On through discounted IT infrastructure, IT staff and direct investment in equipment for staff throughout Australia. These types of partnerships are particularly exciting, and always welcomed by Soldier On, as it allows us to spend fundraised money on services for our wounded, rather than administration and IT. Coming up in the next few months, we have the opportunity to ride with Cadel Evens as part of his Great Ocean Road Race in Victoria. Those affected by their service have been invited to take part, and will get the chance to ride with Cadel and riders from Trois Etapes events in 2014 and 2015.
John Bale, CEO
Helping our wounded warriors
ACT The ACT team was honoured to have the opportunity to mark Remembrance Day with some inspirational events. The first was a BBQ with veterans, family members and supporters, which saw hundreds of people attend the Centre and show their support. People swapped stories, had a coffee, and tucked in to some morning tea after ceremonies that were held across the State. They also got to meet Jessica Love, the 13-year-old author of the novel “Soon”, who is raising money for Soldier On. They were also joined by two of Soldier On’s most inspirational and motivated fundraisers, Royce ‘Rolls’ Hardman and his dog Trigger. These two were able to see the sort of programs they are helping fund, and later joined a group of veterans for an event fit for a Prince. Meeting with His Royal Highness Prince Charles and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a selection of Ambassadors, veterans, family members and staff shared stories of those affected by their service with His Royal Highness. Soldier On has also been running a successful suite of events including coffee catch ups, music sessions, yoga classes and golf days.
SOLDIER ON Summer 2015
New south wales With a move to their new Centre at Woodbine Cottage at Yaralla Estate (Nullawarra Ave, Concord), the team in NSW has been busy settling in. With increased office space, room for families to visit and seek support, and boundless grounds for activities, there will be many more exciting developments over the next few months. One of these will be new staff starting in 2016, including psychologists and more face-to-face Reintegration Officers. In Spring, the organisation’s first Spouses Weekend was held in NSW, with a group of partners of veterans gathering in the small town of Rydal for workshops and sessions around resilience and well-being. The NSW team also marked World Prevention of Suicide Day with around 80 people when they walked from Hyde Park War Memorial to Circular Quay, and finished at the Cenotaph at Martin Place. This was to raise awareness of veteran suicide and was attended by the NSW Minister for Mental Health Pru Goward and highlighted on Sunrise by Soldier On Ambassador Sam Armytage. Next year, the team will be holding family days at Queenscliff Life Saving Club in January and at the Prince Albert Yacht Club in February. Art classes will also be starting soon, so make sure to look out on the website for details on these new activities as well as the regular schedule of coffee catch-ups, yoga, walking groups and special events.
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South Australia In recognition of our female veterans, the SA team held a Ladies Morning Tea in Adelaide during Veterans Health Week that was attended by more than 100 people, including current and ex-serving veterans, family members, supporters and volunteers. Guest speakers Professor Susan Neuhaus and Tiffany Sharp gave inspirational speeches about their personal experiences and the work they are doing in support of women in society. On November 11, the team also held a Remembrance Ride, with 120 riders taking part in the inaugural event. Raising more than $2,000 for our work in SA, it was a great community event that linked many to Soldier On and the work we do. In the new year, the SA team will be holding a long lunch, fundraising for more support in the State. There will be a Q&A session lead by cycling commentator Matt Keenan with former professional cyclist and gold medallist Stuart O’Grady OAM and inspiring track cyclist Anna Meares OAM. Passionate Soldier On Ambassador and singer/song writer Beccy Cole will also attend and perform her latest song “Broken Soldiers”. Tickets are on sale via the website. There will also be a Learn to Surf Weekend in February, as well as a range of cycling activities in the lead up to, and during the Tour Down Under (TDU). Interested veterans and supporters can join weekly intermediate rides throughout the TDU week or join the Soldier On team on Fridays for beginners rides from 9:15am that start at Torrens Parade Ground in the city. Helping our wounded warriors
Queensland Victoria Some serious fundraising and community engagement opportunities have taken place in Queensland over the last couple of months with events such as the KPMG Rotary Kokoda Classic, Townsville Running Festival, Yungaburra Triathlon, Remembrance Day Red Run and our corporate partner Countrywide hosting their annual awards Gala on the Gold Coast. This is all in addition to what the Currumbin RSL community has been doing to raise funds in support of us establishing our new Centre at Currumbin at the Gold Coast. Hundreds of supporters participate and attend these events and we are both overwhelmed and truly humbled by the support for our wounded – thanks to everyone involved! As we begin to lay the foundations in Queensland, we’re joining another coffee catch up with veterans at the Gold Coast and will be rolling out many more events next year!
SOLDIER ON Summer 2015
Opening the doors to our new Melbourne Reintegration and Recovery Centre next year, Soldier On has begun to roll out programs from the premises in the last month or so. Regular art sessions, coffee catch ups, and new yoga sessions are all running from Mayfair House and will continue in to the new year. In late 2015, there were some great events held, which we hope to replicate again in 2016. The Soldier On Family Day held at Werribee Open Plains Zoo was a great success, as was our Learn to Surf weekend in November. Both activities saw groups of families enjoying some quality time together as a group, and served as a break from their daily routine. Tough Mudder was also a great success, with Service Ambassador Liam Haven, Ambassador and Comedian Anthony ‘Lehmo’ Lehmann, and Soldier On CEO John Bale all taking part. Liam’s limited sight was no obstacle for him as he and the Soldier On team tackled the course with enthusiasm. They were an inspiring bunch and thousands have been raised by Tough Mudder participants across the country. Finally, a group of veterans were fortunate enough to receive some golf coaching from none other than the Shark himself, Greg Norman. Soldier On was chosen as the feature charity for the opening of the Eastern Golf Club’s new course in Yering in Victoria – so a big thanks to Greg for the support, and to Australian Defence Apparel for getting the team dressed in Soldier On gear for the event!
Western Australia Late last year, we were lucky enough to be the feature charity at the Jaguar Car Club’s annual Show and Shine for the second year in a row. The event saw veterans and their families treated to ride to the show in a vintage car, a picnic at the event, and the VIP treatment from the wonderful team at the Jaguar Car Club of WA. The Soldier On team in WA is also working on preparing new premises for launch next year. As we do this, there are some exciting weekly events, including sailing and yoga, that will be rolled out over the next few months. There is also access to face-to-face support from our staff who can provide information about a host of education and employment support we have set up for those in WA. More updates are coming soon!
Helping our wounded warriors
Timor veterans Lay for brighter future A group of veterans who served in Timor, Soldier On staff and staff members from our sponsor Citadel Group headed to Timor Leste for a volunteer project at the Bairo Health Clinic in Dili. The team worked to renovate parts of the clinic and build a shelter for the clinic’s ambulances.
or those who had served in past deployments in Timor, the absence of local industry was noticeable, with the streets lined with unemployed adults and young men sitting amongst piles of rubbish on the sides of the road. There were children and women begging, and there was a great sense of hopelessness – no one smiled or responded to a friendly wave.
This time, the streets were packed with buses, trucks, motor vehicles of every size, motor bikes and of course, Microlets in their hundreds. Pedestrians, mostly well dressed and groomed, filled the footpaths. Industry and businesses are everywhere, from road side mechanical repairs to new car sales, street stalls selling a multitude of products to major shopping centres, from local streetside food stalls to classy restaurants to high class hotels. Working with a dedicated Timorese construction crew, and after five days of hard work, the team had completed the ambulance shelter, painted and cleaned parts of the interior of the clinic, upgraded the kitchen’s hygiene
SOLDIER ON Summer 2015
equipment and implemented new food handling guidelines for the kitchen staff. Dr Dan Murphy, the Bairo Clinic director and senior medical officer said Soldier On and Australians in general had been very helpful and generous to the staff and patients at the clinic. “This car port will allow some order with our parking and will allow the vehicle to be parked in the shade and stay a little cooler.,” he said. “This is important, it means our patients will not be placed in a vehicle that has been parked in the sun”. Fi Oakes, the Clinic Manager, said the team had been a Godsend. “The ladies in the kitchen have appreciated the work and support given to them by the Soldier On group. They are really happy with the improvements we have been able to implement. Thank you all”. A big thanks to Citadel Group, Geelong Rotary and Jamieson Foley for their support of the project. Thanks also to Graeme H for collecting these stories and helping share the positive results of this great trip!
p Above The group posing with the construction team at the hospital. u Right digging for posts. y Below hard at work.
p Top Soldier On participants, volunteers and staff. p Above Members of the Citadel team who made the trip a reality. t Left the hospitalâ€™s kitchen staff proudly sporting Soldier On wristbands. q Below Soldier On team meeting local community members and hospital staff.
Helping our wounded warriors
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The RAAF Museum, located at Point Cook, is home to an amazing range of historic military aircraft. A great chance to view these rare machines is at the interactive flying displays, which are held every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 1:00 pm (weat her permitting). The Museum has a vast collection of historical material on show, including several hangars with static aircraft, and offers visitors an exciting experience and insight into the history of the Air Force. Models, books, patches, clothing and mementos can be purchased at the Museum shop.
Remembrance Day – did you take an extra minute? This Remembrance Day, Soldier On asked Australians to take an extra minute to honour those who have been affected by their service or lost to suicide.
undreds of Australians answered the call, using their extra minute to check on a mate – at a time that is often hard for those who have served and lost a mate.
It is estimated hundreds of veterans have been lost to suicide since deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan began in 2001. This is a figure that Soldier On is working hard to address. “We have to remember that while we must honour those who have fought and died before us, we can’t forget those who are still fighting,” John Bale, Soldier On CEO said. “That’s why we think an extra minute is something each and every Australian can take on Remembrance Day, in order to honour those who continue to live with lasting scars from their service.” He said he hoped on Remembrance Days in the future, all Australians would be moved to take a minute to reflect and an extra minute to act.
This year we also used the grey poppy, to honour and represent those affected by their service. The red poppy was one of the first flowers to bloom on the battlefields of France and Belgium after the end of World War One. It is used to honour and memorialise those lost in battle, while representing the bonds we share with those we fought alongside. This year, and in years to come, we will use the grey poppy to make sure those who remain are also not forgotten. Thousands of Australians will be affected physically or psychologically by their service and we want them to know we’ve got their backs.
Helping our wounded warriors
Sleeping habits and issues Sleep and Wellbeing W
e all know how it feels to have a bad night’s sleep. Whether we’re tossing and turning all night, or taking a long time to fall asleep, problems sleeping can have a big impact on our lives. Adequate sleep is fundamental to good physical and mental wellbeing. Sleep seems to serve a number of functions. It is involved in processing information that we encounter during the day, and enhances our ability to concentrate, to recall information and learn (Balkin, Rupp, Picchioni, Wesensten, 2008). Sleep also seems to help us “reset” after the busyness of the day. It helps to refresh us and gives us an opportunity to recover. It is protective, and fosters resilience. Because of its important roles in maintaining our daily functioning, inadequate sleep or sleep problems is strongly linked with psychological distress. For instance, there is a significant relationship between insomnia and depression, with up to 90% of people with depression estimated as having some problem with sleep quality (Tsuno, Besset & Ritchie, 2005). Significant sleep disturbance is also frequently reported among people with PTSD (Lamarche, & De Koninck, 2007). Improving sleep can assist in reducing the severity of both depression and PTSD.
Scientists don’t really know whether poor sleep is a “chicken or an egg” in relation to mental health – do we develop mental health issues because we have poor sleep, or do we have poor sleep because we’ve got a mental health issue? The answer is likely to be a little bit of both. Poor sleep undermines psychological wellbeing and recovery from mental health issues. Additionally, symptoms of psychological conditions, like worry, anxious thinking and nightmares can make it difficult for people to sleep and get the quality rest that they need in order to recuperate and recover. Poor sleep exacerbates and is exacerbated by psychological distress.
How do we improve sleep? W
e often treat sleep like a bit of an optional extra, and we don’t always take care to get the sleep that we need, or to make sure it’s quality sleep. But as we’ve seen, sleep is vitally important to our mental health and wellbeing. Thankfully, there are lots of things that we can do to improve our sleep. One of the first steps is to make sure that we are setting the groundwork every night for good sleep. This is something called “sleep hygiene”.
SOLDIER ON Summer 2015
This means that we need all of the basics in place: a dark, quiet room, comfortable mattress and pillows. It also means trying to keep regular times for going to bed and waking, and making sure we’re not too overstimulated before we try to go to sleep. If good sleep hygiene doesn’t sort out our sleeping difficulties, then there are still lots of strategies to improve sleep including cognitive behaviour therapy and relaxation exercises. You can try breathing or relaxing techniques, or there are also some specific treatment approaches to help deal with issues like nightmares associated with PTSD.
References Balkin, T. J., Rupp, T., Picchioni, D., & Westensten, N. J. (2008). Sleep loss and sleepiness: Current issues. Chest, 134(3), 653-660. Lamarche, L. J., & De Koninck, J. (2007). Sleep disturbance in adults with posttraumatic stress disorder: A review. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 68(8), 1257-1270. Tsuno, N., Besset, A., & Ritchie, K. (2005). Sleep and depression. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 66 (10), 1254- 1269.
Trying to work on improving your sleep by yourself can be challenging as it takes time, and it’s not always obvious what to do or where to start. A clinical psychologist is trained to assist with sleep hygiene and the other techniques mentioned, and might be a good place to get some support in putting some sleep strategies in place. Helping our wounded warriors
Soldier On hits TV screens across Australia! You may have noticed a range of television ads about Soldier On, which have been generously produced and aired on TV by our wonderful partners at Southern Cross Austereo. This probono support has meant more veterans have sought support, and more Australians know what we do and how they can help!
outhern Cross Austereo (SCA) is extremely proud to be the key media sponsor for Soldier On in Australia. With SCA’s regional assets from Darwin to Hobart to Bunbury, they have a large volume of cities and towns that are part of the military community. For the good of the service men, women and their families in the communities in which they broadcast, SCA is proud to promote Soldier On and its programs. Through its work to support those that have given so much and ensuring the inclusion of the wounded members’ family and wider community, Soldier On is a great fit for the SCA’s Community Service and support programs. SCA has committed over one million dollars in television and radio airtime across 72 radio stations and 30 regional TV submarkets. This has also included the scripting, production, editing and distribution of video and audio promotional material. With this phenomenal support, the general public’s awareness of Soldier On and the work we do has significantly increased. With exposure across such a wide market new supporters, struggling veterans, and enthusiastic volunteers have sought to get involved with Soldier On.
SCA has committed over one million dollars in television and radio airtime across 72 radio stations and 30 regional TV submarkets.
The SCA’s metro assets in all capital cities are also invited to participate in supporting Soldier On for all key events. They have supported Soldier On through promotion of fundraising events, featured specific programs on air, and broadcast calls for veterans to seek help from Solder On leading up to and over ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day.
“SCA has many touch points with the defence community across our regional assets,” said Rick Lenarcic, Head of Regional Media for SCA. “It is a great honour to be able to support and promote Soldier On for not only returned soldiers but also their families and the general community. “SCA look forward to contributing its assets to the work of Soldier On and is committed to being a long term partner for many years to come.”
SOLDIER ON Summer 2015
u This page Screen shots from the adverts featuring across the Southern Cross Austereo network. Thanks to Todd Berry, Renee Wilson, David Savage, Meredith Lane and Michael Lyddiard for helping out and taking part.
Helping our wounded warriors
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Leaps and bounds for hundreds of veterans seeking employment Veterans and their partners often find it hard to transition in to work after their service, and Soldier On is working with some great partners to offer tools to make this transition much easier.
n recognition of this Soldier On has been chosen, in partnership with Enabled Employment as a provider for Army’s Transition for Employment Pilot Programme. We are excited to be given the chance to contribute, and will be assisting hundreds of men and women to transfer their skills to a civilian workplace. This will secure them meaningful work and a stable future.
This will also give Soldier On and Enabled Employment the opportunity to build on our employment portal, with more than 1000 veterans and partners signed up already. We are beginning to place many ex-serving men and women in to meaningful employment and the success of the model has seen the CEO of Enabled Employment, Jessica May,
awarded the Telstra Australian Business Women’s Start up Award – congratulations to her and the team from all of us at Soldier On! One opportunity we are extremely excited to offer are five paid internships for ex-serving individuals with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). These positions are designed to tool those chosen with a variety of skills and experiences and lead to permanent employment with PwC. Soldier On is working with a number of other businesses to secure similar opportunities, which will see many men and women successfully reintegrated in to the workforce. If you’d like to learn more, head to https://soldieron.org.au/ hand-up. Helping our wounded warriors
Thank you to our 2015
A big thanks to all our sporting partners in 2015. We’ve achieved some great things with your help, and can’t wait to work with you all in 2016! Thanks to St Kilda, the Greater Western Sydney Giants, the Australian Ice Hockey League, ACT Meteors, ACT Brumbies, Canberra Raiders, Tough Mudder, Rally Driver Adrian Coppin, Damon Hill from SSG and many more!
SOLDIER ON Summer 2015
ANZAC Day 2016 set to challenge After more than 1,000,000 people were connected to Soldier On during ANZAC Day this year, we hope to inspire many more to support wounded men and women in 2016. p Above Soldier On supporters complete 100km in the ANZAC Day Challenge in 2015.
SOLDIER ON Summer 2015
ext year, Soldier On will be challenging our supporters to fundraise for our wounded as we get closer to April 25. This year, hundreds took part in the ANZAC Day Challenge in Sydney, running 100km in support of our wounded. Tens of thousands of dollars were raised, and the event was a really positive experience for all involved.
The Sydney event will be bigger and better in 2016, and Soldier On wants people throughout Australia to think of other ways they can challenge themselves before ANZAC Day. You can choose to run too, or perhaps go bungee jumping, tackle a challenging obstacle course, raise a certain amount through a bake sale, or even learn to knit! We’ll be launching the campaign soon, and we hope you’re as excited as we are to get involved! Watch this space for how you can challenge yourself to help us support our wounded warriors in 2016!
education & employment Assisting Soldier On by providing educational support for veterans free of charge, sponsoring events and activities, as well as assisting with recruitment of new staff – Citadel is one of Soldier On’s most loyal and generous supporters.
he Citadel Group specialises in upskilling people and providing them with the technology solutions required to be successful in a modern knowledge economy. It does this through integrating information, systems and people so they can access and use information anywhere, anytime. The Education and Technology group includes:
§§ Australian Business Academy – accredited business education and training provider; §§ Frontier People – HR and recruitment solutions; §§ ServicePoint Australia – integrated communication services; §§ JBS – strategic consulting and technology support services; and §§ PJA Solutions – specialising in pathology, clinician software products and managed services. Founded by two ex-service men, Citadel is committed to supporting Soldier On in assisting service men and women and their families, who have been affected by their service to our country. With corporate values that include ‘Behaving with integrity’, ‘Valuing and trusting our people’ and ‘Respecting our communities’, Citadel values their responsibilities as global corporate citizens. Staff from Citadel have participated in several Soldier On activities through sponsorship of Liam Haven’s One Foot
Forward March from Sydney to Canberra in 2013, the Remembrance Ride from Sydney to Canberra in 2014, and the TimorLeste Volunteer Project in 2015. The active involvement of its employees in these activities has been incredibly valuable in providing a connection for wounded veterans and the community. Through participation in these events and supporting veterans in their involvement, Citadel has contributed to raising awareness of wounded veteran issues, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, physical impairments and the impact of these issues on families. Citadel has also continued their valued association with Soldier On through the provision of 125 Diploma programs in Accounting, Business Administration, Graphic Design, Human Resource Management, Information Technology and Management since 2014. These courses have been made available for wounded veterans and their families through the online campus of the Australian Business Academy. Additionally, Job Ready services for wounded veterans wanting assistance with resumes, career advice and job search have been provided through Frontier People. Citadel is proud to be a foundation sponsor of Soldier On. Helping our wounded warriors
Hawaii A group of men and women, who all use cycling as a way to enhance their recovery, travelled to Hawaii as part of the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride.
nvited to attend by the US veteran charity group, Soldier On was honoured to be a part of the event and have the opportunity to send a group of inspiring men and women along.
Riding 60km over two days, the event was intended as a beginner’s ride for those who had not ridden long distances before. Soldier On staff attending the event took back many lessons from the experienced Wounded Warriors Project team, and we hope to replicate many of the same programs that have found success in the USA. The team of riders also toured Pearl Harbour, honouring the men and women who fought and died there so many years ago. Friendships were forged, positive experiences shared, and Soldier On has come away with many new ideas and learnings from a brilliant trip!
SOLDIER ON Summer 2015
t Far left The whole team of riders from the USA and Australia. p Top The team being welcomed to Hawaii. p Above The Australian team riding in their Soldier Ride gear. t Left The team assembled before they departed Sydney for theÂ Ride.
Helping our wounded warriors
Fundraising Ball Hundreds of supporters and VIPs gathered to support Soldier On at the second National Fundraising Ball, supported by KPMG.
p Above Guests enjoying the brilliant music provided by the RMC Band.
SOLDIER ONâ€ƒ Summer 2015
osted at the Realm in Canberra, guests included an array of Soldier On Ambassadors, members of the Australian Defence Force, corporate sponsors, supporters and veterans and their family members.
The keynote address by Brendan Nelson, Director of the War Memorial and former Minister of Defence, linked the Centenary of ANZAC with stories of modern veterans, and moved many in the audience. Following the stories of the men of the 10 th Battalion who served during WWI, his speech drew parallels between the lives of those who served 100 years ago and those that serve today. From the sale of tickets, raffles, auction items and donations on the evening, more than $250,000 was raised to support our wounded men, women and their families. A big thanks to all those who helped make the event possible! Our volunteers, the RMC Band, all those who attended, our VIP hosts, our corporate supporters, KPMG for their sponsorship, Brendan Nelson for his inspirational address and thanks also to our wonderful master of ceremonies, Mick Molloy. We are excited to announce that we will be holding two Fundraising Balls in 2016 with our National Gala Ball in Canberra next August, and a Sydney Fundraising Ball in May. More info will be available on the website and online, so keep an eye out for ticket sales early next year!
u Top to bottom Soldier On Ambassadors Anthony and Paul Field, and MC and Ambassador, Mick Molloy. n
Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial, delivering his keynote address.
Former Prime Minister and former First Lady, John and Janet Howard.
The RMC Band playing busting out tunes, donating their time to the cause.
Keeping an eye out for T
he added stress of large gatherings, family pressures, and the unrealistic expectations imposed by Christmas marketing can be stressful for all, but for veterans suffering PTSD it can be a time of isolation and loneliness, even when they are surrounded by loved ones.
One Soldier On supporter, Military Shop in Canberra, wants to use this time to help raise awareness of the condition and to raise funds to support our work for veterans with PTSD. They are running an “Adopt A Digger” program using their popular Great War Centenary collector bears.
at Christmas Christmas is a time when we all need to think of those veterans dealing with post traumatic stress disorder. It can often be the hardest time of the year for those suffering the debilitating condition.
Managing Director, Stephen Davies, says every bear ‘adopted’ will generate a $20.00 donation to Soldier On – instead of the 10 percent the company donates from usual sales. “We are proud to support Soldier On with our Australia in the Great War campaign. Normally the sale of a collector bear would generate around $9.00 to Soldier On, but through Adopt-a-Digger we are simply saying we will make a $20.00 donation on behalf of the person who purchases the bear,” he said. “Hopefully this campaign, which is all over our social media, will help raise a sizable donation for Soldier On and promote awareness of PTSD in the community – and maybe even put a smile on the faces of a few Defence kids and collectors along the way.” It is estimated that between 50 and 80 per cent of the population will experience a trauma in their lifetime and that about eight per cent of the population will experience some form of PTSD. But in defence members the numbers are much higher. The nature of the military often puts people in high stress and traumatic situations for prolonged periods. When soldiers return from a conflict zone they return to normal family life, most often a safe and loving home where little or nothing has changed. Many don’t want to disappoint their families who’ve been worried and waiting eagerly for their return. So, when the entire family gathers for an otherwise happy event such as Christmas, a veteran suffering from PTSD may not want to ruin the occasion and may seek to hide their often-painful feelings from their family and friends. But, seeking to hide an already invisible illness is perhaps the worst thing the sufferer could do but it too often the course many take. Most Diggers suffering from PTSD aren’t vocal, violent or homeless, as per the typical misconception.
SOLDIER ON Summer 2015
The average Australian service man or woman struggling with this invisible killer seeks to hide the disorder, especially from family and friends. Indeed, what makes PTSD so deadly is not that those diagnosed are prone to violence towards others, but the spectre of self harm especially among those who don’t seek treatment. Too many sufferers hide their growing sense of helplessness until it is too late. We have lost too many good people to suicide. With campaigns like Adopt-a-Digger we can hopefully raise more money to help those suffering the condition and support greater awareness and understanding within the defence and broader communities. So, when you’re celebrating this Christmas, spare a thought the many servicemen and women who are suffering in silence in homes and suburbs across Australia. PTSD symptoms sometimes don’t surface for months or even years after returning from deployment. While PTSD develops differently from veteran to veteran, there are four symptom clusters and things that you can look out for: §§ Recurrent, intrusive reminders of the traumatic event, including distressing thoughts, nightmares, and flashbacks where they feel like it’s happening again. Look out for signs of panic attacks, uncontrollable shaking, heart palpitations, etc. §§ Extreme avoidance of things that remind them of the traumatic event, including people, places, thoughts, or situations associated with the bad memories. Look out for withdrawal from friends and family and losing interest in everyday activities. §§ Negative changes in thoughts and mood, such as exaggerated negative beliefs about themselves or the world and persistent feelings of fear, guilt, or shame. Look out for diminished ability to experience positive emotions and feeling detached from others. §§ Being on guard all the time, jumpy, and emotionally reactive, as indicated by irritability, angry outbursts, reckless behaviour, difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating, hyper-vigilance, and an exaggerated start response. If you believe someone is suffering from PTSD this Christmas please seek help or advice. You can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. You can also find more information at https://www. soldieron.org.au/need-help/ Helping our wounded warriors
Book Review A true story of the Great Escape: A young Australian POW in the most audacious breakout of WWII By Louise Williams By Soldier On volunteer, Katrina B. The book is the story behind the legendary Hollywood blockbuster, the Great Escape. But, proving that truth really is stranger than fiction, the book reveals the fact that the Americans were not actually involved in the escape – and Australians were crucial to it. The author of this intricately researched book, Louise Williams, is an award winning writer and journalist, and the niece of the man central to the book, John Williams. Louise has “pieced together his life, from his upbringing in a tight family hit hard by the depression, to his exploits in the air and the…details of the tragic escape.” John Williams was a young Australian who grew up in Sydney and served with the Royal Air Force, joining before the war and reaching the rank of Squadron Leader during it. The beautifully detailed historic descriptions of an Australia where “the police would give you a good clip over the ear if they heard you say so much as ‘bloody’ in public” builds the story. The theme of that Australia is tangible in the story of the men who leave the country to fight and serve overseas – with a longing for home and all they had left behind. The book moves quickly between the emotion of the stories, and between the people involved, in a conversational way that draws the reader in deeply. The book deepens even more once John is captured after a ‘friendly fire’ incident and “his war was over but war as a POW began” and where, through fate, he also finds his best mate. The details of the escape plot, where 500 men and more had worked for 15 months are beyond belief “Imagine a 100 metre long sprint track, set on sandy soil, then imagine sinking a 10 metre deep shaft by hand, bracing it with accurately precut wood panelling against collapse, then hollowing out three chambers below: one for storing excavated sand, one for equipment and a workshop, and one to house an improvised ventilation system to keep the diggers alive. Now imagine doing all this secretly working only with a small knife or a sharpened spoon.” And then, on the moonless night of escape, John’s name is simply drawn from a hat – with only that place deciding his destiny. And all this by the time John was only 24. Predominantly this book is about mateship, love of home and family and, as always with war, about the small twists of fate that change everything one way or another. Concluding with a visit by John’s descendants to the camp this is a compelling, fascinating and superbly written book.
SOLDIER ON Summer 2015
The best Gallipoli yarns and forgotten stories by Jim Haynes By Soldier On volunteer Katrina B. “This book is a collection of stories and verse, which tell the ‘story’ of the Gallipoli campaign, with the events in chronological order, for the layman, or any Australian who has ever wondered what happened at Gallipoli, what it was like and why it is so important to all Aussies.” Jim Haynes This book would be of real interest to high school students and teachers of both history and English, and an asset in any student library. The book contains writings from a number of soldiers and, in many cases, includes more than one story from the same soldier giving a lovely sense of getting to know them as their stories develop. It is for example unusual, but moving, to read of Gallipoli from a ‘peer’ perspective and when one soldier writes of “our first V.C” it is in terms of someone they know so well that it feels very tangible even today. The recurrent theme that we often associate with Gallipoli runs through this book; of the enthusiasm and pride of those men and of their youthful innocence; “we could hardly believe our luck, after eight strenuous months training we were at last on the move and should realise to the full what war meant.” Yet superbly summarised in another letter home with the laconic Aussie humour we also think of in regard to Gallipoli “Dear Aunt, war is a fair cow. Your affectionate nephew.” The book is well transcribed and edited and depends on language you no longer hear in Australia or in the military “for lurid and perfervid* language commend me to the Australian soldier” but the meaning of which is still clearly understood! There remain, in these stories, the stories of today. However while the commentary is very much ‘of the time’ it is also prescient: “Anzac will be a wonderful place for tourists after the war is over. For Australians particularly it will have unbounded interest. The trenches where the men fought will be visible for a long time and there will be trophies to be picked up for years to come.” This book reminds us that Gallipoli was much more than a military campaign; it was also about real people, their lives, their families, their anger, their heartbreak and honesty, and their resilience and humour – just as military campaigns are today. *meaning intense and impassioned – or a polite way of saying rude and blunt!
Helping our wounded warriors
Our Corporate Partners Soldier On are grateful for the support of so many Corporate partners and sponsors. Please see below for the organisations that provide vital funding that keeps Solder On and its support alive.
Military Shop has handled Soldier On’s merchandise
In Kind Supporters
for no charge since the charity was founded in 2012. Most recently, they also donated a large sum of money as part of their Australia in the Great War campaign.
Principal In-Kind Partners
Citadel Group, and their associated business the Australian Business Academy and Frontier People have supported Soldier On from its founding. First as a sponsor of one of Soldier On’s major events,Liam Haven’s One Foot Forward March, Citadel now provides a number of free places for veterans to gain Diploma and Certificate level qualifications. They also assist with employment support, mentoring and filling vacant positions within the Soldier On team.
CSIRO is supporting
Soldier On through the provision of premises for a number of our Reintegration and Recovery Centres. This has allowed Soldier On to provide expanded services to a much higher number of veterans and their families, saving many thousands of dollars on rent.
Southern Cross Austereo are Soldier
On’s Regional Media Partner, and assist in spreading awareness throughout their extensive network of radio and television stations. Providing free advertising and sharing the stories of our wounded, we are grateful for their generous support!
SOLDIER ON Summer 2015
Project Management Partner
ACT Fitness Partner
Lollypotz Jamieson Foley Audi Centre Canberra Hewlett Packard AUS.
Medibank’s Garrison Health Services Ainslie Group Clubs ACT Elgas
GoodGuys Canberra Lockheed Martin
Ph: 02 6123 2950
RECOGNISING AND SUPPORTING
OUR MILITARY COMMUNITIES. Lockheed Martin is proud to support our veterans. We recognise the sacrifice of Australian men and women, as well as those who support them. We thank them for their service and commitment to the safety and security of our nation. Learn more about us at lockheedmartin.com
ÂŠ 2015 LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION VC626122
Published on Dec 9, 2015
The second edition of the Soldier On Journal covers our latest cycling adventure, some great fundraising initiatives, a thank you to sportin...