SOLDIER ON PAYS TRIBUTE TO OUR VETERANS PAST AND PRESENT

On the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour, each year Australians around the world will observe a minutes silence to reflect on the service and sacrifice of those who have died in wars, conflict, and peacekeeping operations, to protect our nation

. This year, Soldier On recognises the work of our ADF personnel who assist the Australian community, and communities around the world. From war zones to peacekeeping missions, natural disasters to emergency responses and so much more. In sharing these stories, we highlight and celebrate the fantastic work of our current and ex-serving personnel and the diverse operations that bring tremendous support to those in need.

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich, said the extensive work of our personnel is increasingly evident in day-to-day life.

“This year, we pay tribute to the incredible efforts of our Defence personnel and the tireless support they continue to give to our nation in times of great devastation and uncertainty. Through floods, bushfires and a global pandemic, our Defence personnel have assisted the Australian public through great times of need,” Mr Slavich said.

“Remembrance Day is a day for the Australian public to show their respect and acknowledge the sacrifices of our servicemen and women. As a community, Australia needs to come together to ensure that our veterans and their families are adequately supported,” Mr Slavich added.

102-year-old March On Patron, Sergeant Bert Le-Merton, stands with our contemporary veterans to acknowledge their service to our nation.

“Whilst we remember today those members of our armed forces who have died in the line of duty, it is also so important that we never forget to care for our surviving veterans.”

Remembrance Day is a powerful and emotive historic day. For many, it is an important occasion to pause, reflect and remember loved ones. For some, it can sometimes bring unexpected memories or feelings. This year we encourage you to reach out to Soldier On for support and stay connected: getsupport@soldieron.org.au

102-YEAR-OLD SERGEANT BERT LE-MERTON NAMED NSW SENIOR AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR FINALIST

102-year-old retired Sergeant Bert Le-Merton has been named as a 2021 Senior Australian of the Year finalist in a ceremony held yesterday.

Recognition in these awards follows Sergeant Bert’s remarkable efforts raising awareness and funds to prevent veteran suicide as Patron 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. 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 continued to March On, reaching another significant milestone on his journey by doubling his original goal and reaching 192 kilometres and raising more than $110,000 by 12 February 2021.

By 31 March 2021, Bert had clocked a total of 419.15km walked and $112,223 raised to help prevent veteran suicide.

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.

“Sergeant Bert is an inspiration to us all and is incredibly deserving of this wonderful award. Bert is a true living legend. His bravery and sacrifice during World War II is admirable to say the least. His family have followed suit, with his children and grandchildren also defending our nation and communities on the frontline. It is clear that his passion for supporting our current and future generation of veterans and their families is close to his heart,” Mr Slavich said.

“Thanks to Bert’s commitment and tireless efforts throughout the campaign and beyond, we saw an enhanced national conversation on the issue of veteran suicide and the challenges that the community faces. We thank Sergeant Bert for his commitment to our veterans,’ Mr Slavich added.

Sergeant Bert said this is an extraordinary acknowledgement for an ordinary bloke.

“It is a great honour to be named as a finalist for Senior Australian of the Year. I’m just an ordinary bloke and we need more ordinary blokes and ladies to get involved and make a change. I hope I can encourage others to champion a cause they are passionate about,” Sergeant Bert said.

“I thank all those members of the public who have joined me by taking part in the challenge and making donations. The funds raised through March On will do a great deal to support the young men and women who have served our great country,” Sergeant Bert said.

Sergeant Bert will celebrate his 103rd birthday later this week.

Soldier On Welcomes Sky News Australia as Official Media Partner

Soldier On has welcomed Sky News Australia as its newest official media partner in 2021.

The partnership will build on the organisations’ existing relationship to further support Soldier On and enable current and ex-serving veterans and their families to thrive.

In partnering with Sky News, Soldier On will receive the additional support needed to increase awareness of its life-changing support services to more members of the Defence and veteran communities as well as the Australian public.

The partnership will also provide an important avenue for the promotion of veterans’ affairs and encourage conversation across the nation.

“Soldier On is thrilled to welcome Sky News as an official media partner. Sky News has been an active supporter of the veteran community and Soldier On for many years and we look forward to collaborating further through this significant partnership,” Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich, said.

“With this partnership, Soldier On will not only be able to enhance the delivery of its support services but also enhance the national conversation of prominent veterans’ affairs, bringing greater awareness and acknowledgement of the sacrifices made by our service personnel and their families, their struggles and their triumphs,” Mr Slavich added.

“At Sky News, we recognise the varied experiences of our service personnel and acknowledge the need for greater support services for veterans and their families. In partnering with Soldier On, we hope to enable more veterans and their families to thrive with positive and impactful assistance in all aspects of their lives,” Sky News Australia, Chief Executive Officer Paul Whittaker, said.

“We are proud to be partnering with Soldier On and will continue to shine a light on the issues facing our veteran community to encourage important national conversations and meaningful outcomes,” Mr Whittaker said.