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THEIR STORIES

The ANZAC legend was born on 25 April 1915 when Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed on the shores of Gallipoli. Under relentless fire, the ANZACs embodied the themes of courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice.  

Australia’s contemporary veterans have continued to build on the ANZAC spirit, carrying these themes into modern service.  

Learn how the ANZAC spirit lives on with our contemporary veterans through their stories below. 

ADAM

FRIZELL

Adam Frizell transitioned from the Australian Air Force following a decorated, 21-year career, where he had worked as an Aerospace Engineering Manager, Maintenance Officer, and Project Manager.  

Adam served with both 34 SQN on the Falcon 900s and 10 SQN on the AP-3C Orion’s where he was deployed to the Middle East on Operations Slipper and Catalyst as well as numerous deployments on Operations Relex and Resolute protecting the northern coastline of Australia.  

Adam decided to wrap-up his Air Force career in June 2018 to join his wife Emily (who had also served for 17-years in the Air Force) to grow their business, AeroPM, which focuses on employing experienced veterans into Defence Projects. 

As a Project Manager in the Air Force, Adam always sought consultants who were veterans, as they brought with them a wealth of experience that was invaluable to his projects. As the General Manager at AeroPM, Adam developed a transition program that strengthened this experience with a strong emphasis on professionalisation and development of consultancy skills across the workforce. Adam’s transition program was most recently recognised by Prime Minister Scott Morrison with the award of ‘Most Outstanding Veteran Transition Program’ for 2020.  

Adam engaged with Soldier On as an avenue to recruit new talent to AeroPM, however he quickly realised that Soldier On was more than just a talent pool and rapidly changed his focus to sharing his knowledge of transitioning, Defence and Defence Industry to all who attended Pathways events. Adam’s focus on the community is why he has been recognised as an Ambassador at Soldier On and Adam’s influence across the transitioning veteran sector is a true inspiration for organisations seeking to further their corporate social responsibility.  

As an Ambassador, Adam hopes to grow the Defence Industry community’s awareness of veteran employment and establish a network of organisations willing to assist employing veterans as a collective. 

DR REBECCA

JACKSON

Dr Rebecca Jackson’s history with the Australian Defence Force spans more than 24 years. She served for 15 years in the Australian Army Reserve, first as a medical assistant for four years, before serving as a commissioned officer in the Royal Australian Corps of Transport for 11 years. She has supported the ADF since then as a psychologist both in the Australian Public Service and as a private consultant psychologist for the past 10 years. 

With a close family connection to the Australian Defence Force, Rebecca’s father, Ron Wade-Ferrell, and four uncles Douglas, Thomas, Eris and Robert also served in the Australian Army and Airforce, with two uncles as decorated WW2 veterans. Her husband Daniel continues to serve in the Infantry (AARES). 

Rebecca has been actively involved in promoting strong mental health outcomes and wellbeing for service personnel including resilience programs and most recently has focused her professional attention on strategic leadership and the role senior leaders play in ensuring positive mental health outcomes for their commands. 

Rebecca became involved with Soldier on in 2020 following her participation in “March On” and supporting our community during the COVID 19 period. She is passionate about promoting the fantastic contribution contemporary veterans make to the Australian community and use her professional expertise and network to support their transition beyond their service. She has a keen interest in the research on post-traumatic growth and moral injury recovery and is especially interested in bringing these stories to light. 

Rebecca published her first book “The Journey of You” in 2019, a personal and professional development resource about overcoming adversity and living your best life. She is currently progressing her second book “Where Poppies Thrive: Leadership for a Harsh World” through publication. 

Rebecca is the principal psychologist and executive leadership coach for the Australian Army Senior Leadership Team, the visiting fellow in strategic leadership development for the Australian War College and director of her own consulting Psychology and Coaching company based in Canberra, The Jackson Company Pty Ltd. 

She hosts a psychology radio show and podcast called “Dr Bec Live” weekly, she loves skiing, bushwalking and exploring the great outdoors with her family, including her four young children Henry, James, Beatrice and Florence. 

Passionate about empowering serving members of the ADF and contemporary veterans to thrive and live rich, meaningful, rewarding and happy lives. 

SARAH

WATSON

In 1997 Sarah Watson commenced Officer Training at ADFA and graduated with a BA Politics.  

Following a year at the Royal Military College Duntroon, Sarah was commissioned into the Australian Intelligence Corps in December 2000 where she served in several Intelligence Roles within the Australian Army including in Iraq in 2006/07. 

As a result of her service, Sarah was diagnosed with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder and was medically discharged from the Army in 2015.   

It was during this time that Sarah engaged with Soldier Ongaining a position in the Soldier On team to compete in the Trois Étapes cycling race in the Italian Dolomite. It was here Sarah found the focus and drive to pull herself out of the black hole she was in. Whilst training, she and fellow teammates, including much loved Aussie celebrities Hamish Blake and Cadel Evans, forged an unbreakable bond, and are all still in touch and look out for each other.  

Competing in this event gave Sarah a new passion and sport and she continues to compete in many cycling events and races.  

Sarah went on to represent Australia in the 2017 Invictus Games in Canada where she won Gold and Silver medals for Criterium and Cycling Time Trial. She also took part in Soldier On’s 2019 Pollie Pedal fundraising event held in Southern Queensland and Northern NSW.  

Sarah continues to be a spokesperson for Soldier On, speaking about her journey to audiences throughout Australia and engaging with others in the ex-serving community. This has provided her the opportunity to reduce the stigma of mental illness in the military and wider community and hopefully give hope to others who may be suffering. 

DAVID

SAVAGE

David Savage AM, served as an AusAID Stabilisation Advisor with the Coalition’s Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan from 2011-12.  

During his service in Afghanistan, David’s patrol was attacked by a child suicide bomber, leaving him with significant and lasting physical injuries, as well as severe psychological trauma.  

Having previously served with the Australian Federal Police for 20 years, David was deployed on several overseas UN Peacekeeping Operations including Mozambique and East Timor, before joining the United Nations as a Human Rights and War Crimes investigator.  

David has also worked for the International Crisis Group, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, and other organisations throughout South, and South East Asia, and is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at The Australian National University.   

David was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2014 for his work in International Relations, Peacekeeping and Human Rights Investigations and was an ACT finalist in the 2015 Australian of the Year awards. 

JORDAN

IVONE

Jordan Ivone served as an Infantry soldier with the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. Jordan discharged from the Army after five years’ service, which included an operational tour to Afghanistan. 

Jordan’s decision to discharge was sudden, leaving him directionless and unprepared for civilian life. Jordan’s experience while serving, along with prolonged unemployment and financial strain, contributed to his declining mental health. As a result, he developed severe depression and anxiety.  

The support of his partner motivated him to seek help and they moved to Canberra to access support from Soldier On. Jordan credits Soldier On with helping him to access mental health support and gain meaningful employment.   

After initially completing a 12-month Veterans Internship with PwCspecifically designed to help veterans build skills to establish a new career, Jordan is now a manager in the firm’s Canberra office 

In 2019, he was awarded the Prime Ministers Veteran Employee of the Year award, in recognition of his contribution to the firm and clients, and his efforts to assist other veterans thrive within the professional services sector.  

Jordan is also completing a double degree in Law and Politics and International Relations. His passions include helping other veterans successfully transition out of the Defence Force and advocating for veteran employment and education initiatives. 

BEN

FARINAZZO

After being an army cadet during school, Ben Farinazzo enrolled the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) following his studies. Graduating from ADFA with Chief of Defence Force Army Prize for leadership and academic and military excellence, Ben began his military career in the Army.  

Deployed on active service as part of the International Force in East Timor (INTERFET)Ben, along with his comrades, was tasked with assisting in the provision of humanitarian aid and assisting local communities following a period of unrest.  

Following a rewarding career in the Australian Defence Force, Ben transitioned from the military in 2002. He has since held several senior leadership roles including Chief Executive Officer of Outward-Bound Australia and a founding Director on the Board of Soldier On. 

Ben was diagnosed with PTSD, depression and anxiety as a result of his military service and sustained severe injuries following a mountain bike accident 

Ben went on to represent Australia in the 2018 Sydney Invictus Games where he won two gold medals in indoor rowing. 

Ben continues to be a spokesperson for veterans and their families, encouraging those struggling with their mental health to seek the assistance they need.  

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