Playing footy and giving back

The Air Force AFL Football Club has done RAAF proud during the annual ADF Interservice National Carnival from March 20 to 24 in Melbourne.

CAPTION: Flying Officer Ellie Herron and Leading Aircraftwoman Jessica Meachin talk to cooking students during a community engagement activity. Story by John Noble. Photo by Sergeant Rodney Welch.

Since it began in 1986, the AFL Football Carnival has developed a reputation as one of the foremost ADF sporting competitions on the Australian calendar.

However, playing football is just one aspect. Male and female aviators also dedicated part of their downtime to volunteering with local community organisations such as St Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army’s Magpies Nest café, along with a visit to a local school.

Corporal Kurt Miller said playing in the carnival meant far more than just AFL.

“The opportunity to head out to St Peter’s College for the day and put on a footy clinic was a great way to share with students the enjoyment that playing sport with peers gives me,” Corporal Miller said.

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CAPTION: Air Force AFL Team members train with students from St Peters School, Clyde North Campus. Photo by Sergeant Rodney Welch.

“It was fantastic talking with students and exposing them to the benefits and amazing opportunities Defence has given me, in particular ADF sport.”

Flight Sergeant Maria Moloney from RAAF Base Edinburgh said playing footy and helping the community at the Magpies Nest café was especially rewarding.

“The community engagement elements of the Air Force AFL training camp have been an important and rewarding aspect for the last few years,” Flight Sergeant Moloney said.

“This year I worked at the Salvos café, which is set up to assist vulnerable members of the community with access to food in a café-style environment.

“Royal Australian Air Force members worked taking orders, delivering meals, clearing tables, and cleaning, preparing and getting organised: a team effort playing footy giving back plating food for customers.”

In addition to competing hard on the field, Officer Cadet Joshua Fuller volunteered at a nearby Vinnie’s warehouse, where he and other teammates helped sort about three months’ worth of stock for the needy.

“It’s quite heartfelt knowing where these clothes are going – to people who really need them,” Officer Cadet Fuller said.

“Every little bit we can do to help is important.”

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CAPTION: An Air Force AFL member helps put clothing on racks at St Vincent de Paul, Melbourne Victoria. Photo by Sergeant Rodney Welch.


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