Hairy young aviators supporting veterans

While attending the Air Warfare Instructor Course in Darwin, members of No. 2 Squadron took the rare opportunity to leave their shavers at home and grow a fundraising beard.

CAPTION: Personnel from No. 2 Squadron, supporting Young Veterans at RAAF Base Darwin during Exercise Diamond Storm, stand in front of an E-7A Wedgetail. This image has been digitally altered. Story by Flight Lieutenant Claire Burnet. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Samuel Miller.

Members encouraged family, friends and other No. 2 Squadron members to donate to the charity they chose to support – Young Veterans.

Run entirely by volunteers, Young Veterans helps new Australian veterans grow and succeed in life after service.

Flight Lieutenant James Bailey, one of about 15 beard-growing fundraisers, said they were drawn to Young Veterans because the charity caters for recently serving veterans and is relevant to their own time in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

“Flight Lieutenant Sean Gardner organised the fundraising initiative hoping to raise $500,” Flight Lieutenant Bailey said.

“But in true No. 2 Squadron style, we raised $3245.”

Mathew Keene, from Young Veterans, said as the charity was run entirely by volunteers, it was able to use 100 per cent of donations to enrich the lives of Australian veterans.

“We work with our fundraisers to ensure their efforts help the veterans living in their local region; often their mate or someone they worked with,” Mr Keene said.

“No. 2 Squadron is based at RAAF Base Williamtown so their donation will help veterans in the Newcastle region to access their local Saltwater Veterans Sailing Project, which inspires and re-engages veterans on, in or around water.”

Members leaving the ADF are encouraged to contact Young Veterans, which can act as a conduit to help them get where they want to go.

“We can provide information, support and advice to help young veterans grow and flourish in life after the ADF,” Mr Keene said.





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