Legacy torch relay shines light on RAAF gift

A passionate aviator from 3 Squadron has orchestrated a large donation to help local Hunter families.

CAPTIONFrom left, Flight Sergeant Aaron Absolon with Hunter Legacy Youth member Alex Hobson, Victoria Hopkins and President Paul Rees during a tour of the F-35A Lightning II at 3 Squadron, RAAF Base Williamtown. Story by Flight Lieutenant Rob Hodgson. Photos by Aircraftman Kurt Lewis.

Flight Sergeant Aaron Absolon, who was chosen as a torch bearer in the Legacy Centenary Torch Relay, was honoured to be able to gift $1000 raised by 3 Squadron’s social club to the Hunter Legacy Youth Support Program.

The presentation coincided with squadron birthday celebrations, with Hunter Legacy Youth Support Program and 3 Squadron members at the event on September 19.

The youth program aims to develop resilience and confidence in Legacy juniors through involvement in outdoor activities, and social events that improve communication be­tween families and Hunter Legacy.

It also nominates juniors moving from Year 11 to Year 12 for the Lord and Lady Somers Leadership Camp on the Mornington Peninsula to provide them with a jump-start into their final year of high school.

Flight Sergeant Absolon explained how the relationship with the Legacy youth program came about.

“While fundraising at work for the [Legacy] torch relay, my unit’s social club offered to donate money raised from our upcoming tactical dining-in night to my cause,” he said.

“Once the event was completed, we had raised $1000 and I reached out to Hunter Legacy to see if we could donate the squadron-generated funds to a local Legacy program.

“The squadron decided to donate to the youth program, and we hope to build a long-lasting relationship between the Hunter Legacy Youth Support Program and 3 Squadron.”

Hunter Legacy president Paul Rees was grateful for the donation.

“We are very thankful that Flight Sergeant Absolon and 3 Squadron chose to donate the funds to the Hunter Legacy Youth Support Program,” Mr Rees said.

“The whole squadron was extremely welcoming and we greatly appreciated their warmth.

“Every dollar that goes into the program is spent directly on the families we support.”

This year, Legacy held the Legacy Centenary Torch Relay to celebrate the ‘Centenary of the Legacy Promise’ – 100 years of looking after the families of those who served.

By its end, the torch will have travelled 55,000km through 100 stops, and will be carried by around 1300 torch bearers who all have a personal connection to Legacy.

Flight Sergeant Absolon, a long-term supporter of Legacy, reflected on the experience of being chosen as one of those torch bearers.

“It’s was an honour to be a Legacy Centenary torch bearer representing my family and all the families supported by Legacy,” he said.

“It is incredibly comforting to know that Legacy will be there for my family if ever needed and I will continue to support Legacy while they continue to support those in need.”

The torch relay will conclude at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance on October 13.

CAPTIONPresident of Hunter Legacy Paul Rees accepts a donation from No. 3 Squadron Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Adrian Kiely, No. 3 Squadron, RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW.


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