Australia Marches on Against Veteran Suicide

From Monday 1 March, Australia will hit the streets to prevent veteran suicide as part of Soldier On’s March On Challenge.

March On is a virtual walking challenge, calling upon Australians to walk 96 kilometres, the length of Kokoda, during the month of March to raise funds to help prevent veteran suicide.

The Challenge pays tribute to the sacrifices made by our brave soldiers in Kokoda in World War II and highlights the importance of helping our serving and ex-serving veterans of today.

“The act of marching is of course an intrinsic activity linked to Defence and with the literal connection to the month of March and the incredible symbolism and military significance of Kokoda, we believe that March On with Soldier On is a campaign that will – and should – resonate with thousands of Australians,” said Solider On Australia CEO, Ivan Slavich. 

“It’s no secret that many of our servicemen and women – and in-turn their families – face significant and unique post-service struggles including difficulty finding work, post-traumatic stress disorder and feelings of isolation. The suicide rate among Australian veterans is simply unacceptable,” Mr Slavich said.   

The Mach On campaign has already attracted tremendous support from the Australian public with more than 4,800 registered participants and over $700,000 raised.

Every dollar raised as part of the March On challenge will go directly to the services that Soldier On provides to our nation’s current and ex-service personnel and their families to help prevent veteran suicide.  

“Soldier On knows what has to be done. We’ve proven that our programs are comprehensive and relevant to help our veterans and their families build better futures following their service. The challenge now is to expand our services across all areas of the nation where veterans are based, but find themselves without support. This requires funding and the demonstrated support of every Australian. This is why we are marching on in 2021,” added Mr Slavich. 

Digital materials and interview opportunities available upon request.

Built Joins the Soldier On Pledge in Support of Veterans

Soldier On welcomes Built as its newest Gold Pledge partner for 2021.

The Soldier On Pledge partnership provides a pathway for veterans and their families transitioning from the Australian Defence Force into civilian life.

The Pledge allows organisations to thank Australian Defence Force Personnel for their service and recognise the exemplary skills, leadership and training of those who have served Australia. Organisations that sign the Pledge commit to learning more about the skills and attributes that Defence personnel, veterans, and family members can bring to their organisation.

The newest signatory for 2021, Built, is a proudly Australian and privately owned diversified general contractor, with over 1000 employees nationally, and is one of Australia’s largest construction groups.

Upon signing the Pledge, Built General Manager ACT, Nadine O’Keeffe said they were thrilled to be able work closely with Soldier On to provide support to the veteran community.

“Supporting veterans and their families is something Built are very proud of. With both personal and community connections to serving and ex-serving Defence personnel, demonstrating our commitment via the Pledge signing is very important to us. As we partner with Soldier On, we look forward to providing and expanding our support, training and opportunities for veterans and their families.” Nadine said.

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich said Soldier On is thrilled to have Built as its newest pledge partner in 2021.

“Soldier On’s Pathways Program is working in collaboration with companies like Built to enable veterans and their families to thrive. The more organisations that come on board by signing the Pledge and supporting the veteran community, the greater the impact. We are building a stronger Australia together – for every organisation that signs the Soldier On Pledge, we are one step further to enabling more veterans and their families to secure their future,” Ivan Said.

102-Year-Old Sergeant Bert Surpasses Goal, Marching Twice The Length of Kokoda

102-year-old retired Sergeant Bert Le-Merton tracks 192 kilometres, twice the length of the Kokoda Track, for Soldier On’s March On challenge.

March On is a virtual walking challenge, calling upon Australians to walk 96 kilometres, the length of Kokoda, during the month of March to raise funds to help prevent veteran suicide.

A retired Sergeant of the Mortar Platoon in the 2/13th Battalion, 20th Brigade, 9th Division of the AIF (Australian Infantry Force), Bert looked for a way to help raise money to make the lives of contemporary veterans better.

On 15 August 2020, Sergeant Bert set out to walk the March On Challenge with the hope of raising

$10,000 for Soldier On – A fundraising target which he surpassed on the evening of 14 August.

In the subsequent months, Sergeant Bert averaged 1.75 kilometres a day, completing his initial objective of 96 kilometres on October 10, 2020. Bert was greeted at the finish line by the Australian Federation Guard who lined his street in a guard of honour, a sign of gratitude for his support of our contemporary veterans.

Bert’s mission did not end there. He continues to March On. Today, Bert reaches another significant milestone on his journey, doubling his original goal and reaching 192 kilometres, as well as more than $110,000 raised.

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich, said the organisation is honoured to have Sergeant Bert Le-Merton, an Australian living legend, to support the March On campaign and enable those who have served, and continue to serve in the Australian Defence Force to thrive.

“As patron of March On, Bert is an inspiration to us all, to stand up and in his words “get off your saddle and let the war horse walk behind” to raise much needed funds that will enable Soldier On to support veterans and their families during these difficult times. We want everyone to March On with Bert. If a 102-year-old can not only do 96 kilometres, but do it twice, so can you,” Mr Slavich said.

Bert will keep walking through to the end of March and the completion of the March On Challenge, with the help of fellow residents at his nursing home.

“We have measured out the distance of 1.5km for us to walk during the month of March. We are going to do it together on a regular basis,” Bert said.

“If this bunch of oldies can do it, the rest of Australia can too,” Bert said.

With Bert leading the way, Soldier On is calling on Australians to pledge their support to the brave men and women who paved the way for the freedom and quality of life we enjoy today by walking a mile or two in their shoes.

Synergy Joins Soldier On as Platinum Partner

Soldier On welcomes Synergy Group Australia as its Platinum National Ball Partner for 2021.

The National Gala Ball is a premier black-tie event attracting more than 500 attendees and VIP guests. The annual Gala Ball welcomes some of the most influential people in Defence, business and the community to raise money in support of serving and ex-serving veterans and their families.

As the event’s Platinum Partner, Synergy will contribute a total of $50,000 to the Soldier On mission.

Synergy’s partnership will allow Soldier On to deliver more of its services to a greater number of veterans and their families, enabling them to thrive in their transition from the Australian Defence Force into civilian life. This is achieved through Soldier On’s delivery of holistic services assisting individuals to build resilience, create and expand meaningful connections with family, community and employers through its health and wellbeing services, employment programs, learning opportunities and participation activities.

Synergy is one of Canberra’s largest and fastest growing consulting and contracting firms, specialising in the provision of services across Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments.

An avid supporter of Soldier On, Synergy has demonstrated its support for the veteran community through its own programs, with the implementation of a Veteran Recruitment Campaign and Veteran’s Assessment Centre which has seen the number of veterans within the organisation grow to over 10% of the growing workforce.

Synergy has also offered support to the veteran community through its ongoing partnerships with Soldier On by signing the Platinum Pledge, as well as being the Platinum Sponsor of the inaugural Golf Vet-AM.

Galia Cornish, CEO for Synergy Group, is a strong supporter of providing opportunities for veterans.

“Veterans are a fundamentally important part of our business and we really enjoy the energy they bring to Synergy. Our support of Soldier On reflects our ongoing commitment to assisting veterans and their families,” Galia said.

“Transitioning after years of dedicated service can be demanding, so creating opportunities to bridge between the Veteran – their values and beliefs, and Synergy’s values and our principles- based approach to business, is critical to providing a meaningful next step. The capacity of Veterans and their families to get on board and get on with each new challenge and opportunity has been admirable and shows the value that Veterans provide to businesses like Synergy Group,” Galia said.

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich said Soldier On is thrilled to have Synergy as its 2021 Platinum National Ball Partner.

“Soldier On is extremely grateful for Synergy’s ongoing support. This partnership will not only work to assist current and ex-serving personnel and their families across the country, but it also sends a clear message that there are large organisations in our community who are proactively committed to supporting those who have served our nation,” Ivan said.

Origin Project Management Pledges Support to Australian Veterans

MEDIA RELEASE –

Soldier On welcomes OriginPM as its newest Gold Pledge partner for 2021.

The Soldier On Pledge partnership provides a pathway for veterans and their families transitioning from the Australian Defence Force into civilian life.

The Pledge allows organisations to thank Australian Defence Force Personnel for their service and recognise the exemplary skills, leadership and training of those who have served Australia. Organisations that sign the Pledge commit to learning more about the skills and attributes that Defence personnel, veterans, and family members can bring to their organisation.

The newest signatory for 2021, OriginPM is an Australian Veteran Owned Business that provides professional project management, consultancy and advisory services. Founded on a strong connection with the Defence force, Managing Director, Daniel Joinbee, and National Business Development Manager, Mark Swinn, both served in the Royal Australian Air Force.

Upon signing the Pledge, OriginPM’s Mark Swinn said they were thrilled to be able work closely with Soldier On, an organisation that was vital in their transition and success, to provide support to their veteran community.

“As veterans ourselves, Daniel and I have both experienced the work of Soldier On firsthand, having transitioned out of the Air Force with the help of the team,” Mark said.

“We are very passionate about helping veterans and helping an organization which helped us. Signing the Soldier On Pledge allows our team to express our commitment to supporting veterans and their families in their transition,” Mark said.

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich said Soldier On is thrilled to have OriginPM as its newest pledge partner in 2021.

“It is truly inspiring to see the progress of past participants and have them rejoin us as an established and thriving business looking to assist others down a similar path. OriginPM’s commitment to support will go a long way in helping veterans and their families thrive in their career transitions,” Ivan said.

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