Why Soldier On was started
Soldier On is grounded in the bonds of friendship and a desire to better connect the community to the experiences of Australian service personnel and their families.
John Bale, Cavin Wilson, and Dr Danielle Clout, established the organisation following the death of John’s close friend, Lieutenant Michael Fussell in 2008, from an IED blast in Afghanistan. After Michael’s death, John returned to their home town of Armidale to find a community that was rallying together to support Michael’s family and raising funds for those involved in the incident and coming home to a very different life.
In the years that followed John, Danielle and Cavin identified that no single organisation was focused on supporting both younger veterans injured both physically and psychologically in incident’s like Michael’s, and their family members. In addition, they wanted to ensure that those who had been impacted by their service during peacekeeping operations, training exercises and general duties were also provided assistance.
They chose to take action and establish Soldier On. Their vision was to provide a way for the community to come together and support our modern-day veterans and their families.
They believed the community needed a mechanism to support these brave men and women and so, on 24 April 2012, Soldier On was launched.
Achievements to date
During the first couple of years, Soldier On successfully raised awareness about the experiences of modern-day veterans and the issues they face. This was done through a range of high-profile events, including the Walking with the Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge in 2013 and Trois Etapes in France in 2014.
By the end of 2014 we had raised enough funding to open centres in Adelaide, Canberra and Sydney. We hired a part-time psychologist in Canberra and started delivering vital support services to veterans and their family members.
In 2015 we expanded our service offering and started focusing on helping veterans and their families successfully transition from the Defence Force into the community.
The following year we hired a team of experts to deliver employment and education support services, further acknowledging the need to support personnel as they transition from service to civilian life.
How Soldier On helps those who have served Australia
Today we have centres in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, as well as offices in Adelaide, Albury, Currumbin, Newcastle and Perth. All our centres and our office in Currumbin have an in-house psychologist who specialises in trauma-related mental health conditions. Our centres also have Employment Officers and Social Program Officers, to provide employment and education support as well as social activities and programs.
Soldier On is focused on helping to secure the futures for all those who have served and continue serving our nation. We recognise that this service goes beyond the ADF uniform and reaches into our National Security Agencies.
#SidebySide Support Services
On 10 October 2017, Soldier On extended our support services to all those service personnel from national security agencies who have served, and continue to serve, side by side with the ADF. This includes individuals, and their families, from Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other security agencies.
Securing and protecting Australia in complex environments, domestically and globally, requires integrated multiagency and multidisciplinary teams of national security agency service personnel to work side by side, both on and offshore, and this should be no different at home.
We support those who serve today, tomorrow and into the future.