Full sail ahead for Soldier On in Perth
ANZAC Day is an appropriate time to also focus on our more recently returned servicemen and women and Applecross-based Soldier On is encouraging attendance at a centennial breakfast in Perth on April 24 to raise funds for its support programs.
Soldier On WA State manager Daniel Fogarty said the independent national charity had provided support to former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members who had returned from service with physical or psychological wounds, and their families since 1990.
The WA operation, established in WA about 18 months ago by two volunteers, gained its first employee in December and is based at an office provided by the South of Perth Yacht Club (SoPYC) at Coffee Point in Applecross.
Mr Fogarty said the branch ran a weekly learn to sail program on an Etchells yacht donated by the SoPYC, where a partnership had also been formed with fellow tenant Cam Can, an organisation that helps people with disability and their families live in the community.
“We had some sailors, former defence personnel, that enjoyed learning to sail on the Etchells yacht so much that they helped crew a vessel in the 2014 Sydney to Hobart race,” Mr Fogarty said.
“The yacht they were on, SouthernExcellence, finished ninth with line honours.
“Soldier On was able to pay for this experience, which has helped these guys enormously.”
Other activities include weekly social cycling sessions, canoe and sea kayaking, learn to row classes and a recent learn to surf weekend for seven veterans and their families in Margaret River.
“We like to promote healthy, active lifestyles because we know it’s good for mental health,” Mr Fogarty said. “It gives them a reason to get out of bed in the morning and the family activities are a chance for people to meet and make new friendships, preventing social isolation and helping everyone better recognise and deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety and stress.”