CAPTION: Corporal Justin Wells, right, of 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, near Hebel on the Queensland/NSW border during Operation COVID-19 Assist. Story by Corporal Luke Bellman. Photo by Trooper Jonathan Goedhart.
Jonathan Church Good Soldiering Award
The Jonathan Church Good Soldiering Award acknowledges junior soldiers and officers who consistently demonstrate Army’s five values and who embody Army’s contract with the nation. The recipients attended a ceremony to receive their awards on March 1 at Russell Offices, Canberra, to coincide with Army’s birthday.
One of this year’s four recipients is Corporal Justin Wells.
Restoring confidence in the Army to a grieving mother, assisting the elderly with flood repairs and designing a training program for injured personnel led to Corporal Justin Wells becoming this year’s Jonathan Church Good Soldiering ambassador.
Corporal Wells said he was honoured to receive the award.
“To see people get noticed for doing something good, especially the other recipients, made me proud to receive it,” Corporal Wells said.
Corporal Wells met Tonia Ellis, mother of Sergeant Hugh Ellis who was killed in the Black Hawk crash in 1996, at a COVID-19 checkpoint in the remote town of , Queensland.
Her son died in the same incident that claimed the life of Jonathan Church.
Ms Ellis needed help with home maintenance, so Corporal Wells organised a section of 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR) soldiers to refurbish her garden and help around her home.
“We turned up on our day off, everyone wanted to help out; it was a feel-good thing to do,” Corporal Wells said.
“We repaired a mural on the side of the house and had some lunch with her and did her gardening.”
On Operation Flood Assist 2022, Corporal Wells met an elderly man with significant flood damage to his property.
Corporal Wells organised his section to remove damaged goods and clean the house to a liveable state.
“He built a second dwelling after the main house was affected in the previous floods,” Corporal Wells said.
“We gutted all his furniture, a lot of the kitchen, even some of the appliances and everything underneath and around the house.
“The water damage in his house was pretty much up to the roof.”
During his time at 6RAR, Corporal Wells designed a program to give soldiers tailored training to work around their restrictions.
“We look at the member’s restrictions and figure out what they can do, whether it’s weapons training or exercises to increase their fitness, and to keep them motivated,” Corporal Wells said.