On Saturday 15 September 2018, Soldier On hosted its fifth National Fundraising Ball at the National Arboretum in Canberra and what a spectacular evening it was! Nearly 450 guests joined us on the night and helped us to raise an impressive $208,000!
The evening was opened by the Military Wives’ Choir – Canberra, who were later joined by our host, Australian actor, singer and performer, Joel Jackson to perform a stunning rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’. Joel continued to entertain guests throughout the night, not only as the MC but provided engaging musical performances, including a touching performance of Hunters and Collectors ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ which saw many in the room take to the dancefloor.
Soldier On Chairman Lieutenant General Peter Leahy, AC (Ret’d), Vice Chief of the Defence Force Vice Admiral David Johnston, AO, RAN and CEO John Bale addressed the room. John took the opportunity to introduce Deputy CEO Mat Jones as the soon to be CEO of Soldier On. Mat shared a touching, personal story of why he has chosen to leave lucrative roles within Defence industry and to take on the vital position of CEO of Soldier On, paying tribute to a close friend.
The keynote speech was delivered by Commander Grant Edwards, APM who spoke of the struggles he has faced during his AFP career and how more is needed for those in uniform. It was a raw, and at times confronting, presentation of the adversities so many face everyday on the job and Grant was met with a standing ovation and ongoing thanks for sharing so openly to all in attendance.
Live auctions commenced, and a bidding war kicked off! Not long after, formalities were concluded with a closing address by the event lead, National Communications Director Melissa Russell. It was then time to really let the hair down, with the RMC Band hitting the stage. Our MC even took a spot on the dancefloor when the RMC band rocked the venue later in the evening.
Thank you to all who joined us on the night and of course to those who kindly donated auction and raffle items or provided support to the event. We look forward to doing it all again next year!