Darwin’s Mix 104.9FM radio host Dan Hilliard recruited soldiers from the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR), to join him on a 15km march last week to raise funds and awareness for a charity close to Defence’s heart: Soldier On.
CAPTION: Soldiers from the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, join Darwin morning radio host Dan Hilliard, raising funds and awareness for Soldier On in Darwin. Story by Captain Annie Richardson. Photo by Major Dan Mazurek.
Live during his breakfast morning show on March 22, he and the 5RAR soldiers marched from RAAF Darwin to Robertson Barracks, cheered on roadside by soldiers, representatives from Soldier On and passing territorians on the morning commute along Stuart Highway.
The 15km was one segment of a total of 192km Mr Hilliard is marching for Soldier On. His march represents a return trip along the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea, to honour one of Australia’s most significant World War 2 campaigns.
The broadcaster aims to recognise the sacrifices made by Australian soldiers past and present.
“I think all Australian are connected to Defence in one way or another and this seemed like a great way that I can give back to those who have sacrificed so much for us,” Mr Hilliard said.
Soldier On is an Australian charity that provides support to current and former military personnel and their families who have been affected by physical or mental injuries sustained during their service.
“The reason I chose Soldier On is because everyone will need this service, whether you’re serving now, or have already left Defence,” he said.
Their mission ensures that veterans and their families have access to the resources and support they need to transition successfully into civilian life.
CAPTION: A section of 5RAR soldiers and Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Chris Gilmore, front right, with radio host Dan Hilliard. Photo by Major Dan Mazurek.
The Commanding Officer of 5RAR, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Gilmore, said his soldiers welcomed the opportunity to participate in the march.
“Soldier On is such a great cause and Tiger Battalion was thrilled to support Dan’s march for a charity that’s so close to home,” Lieutenant Colonel Gilmore said.
Throughout the march, Mr Hilliard stopped at various checkpoints and continued his broadcast, with regular segments from the show including a quiz portion which had a unique Army spin.
Mr Hilliard achieved his fundraising target and was grateful for the enthusiastic help from the 1st Brigade soldiers.
“I am humbled to have so many soldiers from 5RAR volunteer to march with me and welcome me to the finish line at Robertson Barracks,” he said.
CAPTION: Soldiers with radio host Dan Hilliard, at Robertson Barracks at the end of their 15km march from RAAF Darwin for Soldier On. Photo by Major Dan Mazurek.