Marching to the challenge

RAAF Base Williams at Laverton and RAAF Base Point Cook have joined forces to support the Soldier On March On Challenge raising much-needed funds for life-saving programs that support veterans and their families.

CAPTION: Air Force Rock Band AV8 musician Leading Aircraftwoman Chloe Bruer-Jones performs during the Soldier On March On Challenge event at RAAF Base Williams in Victoria. Story by Leading Aircraftwoman Jasna McFeeters. Photos by Sergeant Ralph Whiteoak.

Twenty-one Air Force members collectively covered more than 441km of ground by walking or running. The initial goal was to conquer 96km – the length of the Kokoda Track – to symbolise the courage and sacrifice of veterans and their families.

The team exceeded its fundraising goal to raise $3235.26.

Solider On Pathways Officer Jason Isaac said the money raised exceeded the expectations of everyone involved in the event.

“Soldier On has been overwhelmed by the amazing support received from the members and the community. The impact base personnel have made to help prevent veteran suicide and save lives is huge,” Mr Isaac said.

Activities were supported by a team of physical training instructors, barbeque volunteers and the Air Force Rock Band AV8, who provided inspirational music to keep those marching on motivated.

Air Force Band musician Leading Aircraftwoman Chloe Bruer-Jones said AV8 stepped up to an early morning performance to get the team into the swing of things.

“It can be tricky getting to a location before sunrise to set up and play rock music at 7am. However, it was a challenge we were more than willing to take on,” Leading Aircraftwoman Bruer-Jones said.

“AV8 enjoyed supporting the events, and had great fun picking out appropriate tunes for the start and finish lines.

“Some favourites included Chariots of Fire, Running Up That Hill and of course Eye Of The Tiger, requested by Commander Air Force Training Group.”

March On challenge participant Squadron Leader Kevin Hall, of Headquarters Air Force Training Group, said that apart from the fundraising to enable Soldier On to continue their good work with mental health services, the event provided an opportunity to talk and socialise with fellow ADF members in a relaxed environment.

“This is not just talking about being an Air Force family, but by actually engaging with our friends and colleagues, we demonstrate that everyone is valued, and each individual is important to us,” Squadron Leader Hall said.

Soldier On recently announced the total national amount raised was $2,063,069 and 590,080kms were conquered to help prevent veteran suicide and save lives.

RAAF Williams has an enduring relationship with Soldier On, and will continue to hold fundraising events throughout the year to support veteran services.


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