2024 Jonathan Church Good Soldiering Awards

From supporting victims of genocide in Africa to performing life-saving CPR during a footy match, soldiers have been recognised for compassion in Army’s 2024 Jonathan Church Good Soldiering Awards.

CAPTIONThe 2024 recipients of the Jonathan Church Good Soldiering award, from left Lance Corporal Lachlan Goulding, Private Caleb Walker, Sergeant L, Lieutenant Lachlan Maill and Corporal Jordan Neal, during a tour of the Australian War Memorial Annex, Canberra. Story and photo by Leading Seaman Nadav Harel.

Renovating a hospital in Papua New Guinea and stabilising stabbing victims at a local shopping centre were among other notable actions by this year’s recipients.

Among the five recipients this year was Private Caleb Walker, this year’s award ambassador for humanitarian aid work in Rwanda, where, travelling at his own expense, he helped renovate a facility where genocide-affected victims could receive psychiatric help.

“First time I went to Africa was with my dad in 2005. I fell in love with the place and just really wanted to keep going back to Rwanda to help,” Private Walker said.

Private Walker’s compassion was also noted following the death of his section commander in 2022, when he regularly checked in on his mates after hours.

Later this year, recipients will travel to PNG to participate in numerous battlefield tours and to walk sections of the Kokoda Track.

This will have special significance for Lance Corporal Lachlan Goulding, another recipient whose award citation credited his work re-establishing a hospital ward at Moem Barracks, Wewak in 2023.

During Olgetta Warrior, then Private Goulding, through his own initiative, sanitised and repaired the ward ready for patients.

“I just thought I was doing the medic role. I thought upgrading the ward was part of the role for us to do,” Lance Corporal Lachlan Goulding said.

“We faced a lot of challenges getting it back to an acceptable standard to treat patients, with having to re-establish electricity and plumbing and sanitise the wards to be clean enough for use as a medical facility.

“I am just trying to help people that need care. It’s a pretty surreal feeling knowing I have had an international impact on a country’s ability to provide health care.”

Another recipient was Corporal Jordan Neal, who provided life-saving CPR on an Aussie Rules umpire who was suffering from cardiac arrest during a local football match at Killarney Vale in NSW.

“I reached out after the incident and found out he was a RAAF member up in Newcastle and he is all good now and doing well,” Corporal Neal said.

“I try and be a good bloke. I’m from a small country town in North Queensland. I just treat everyone like a human being; you can’t go wrong.”

Lieutenant Lachlan Maill was recognised for providing first aid stabilising two assault victims in Darwin, one stabbed in the back and the other in the leg.

“It was kind of right place, right time,” Lieutenant Maill said.

“Any soldier, sailor or airman would run and see what had happened; that’s the one thing that always sets us apart. We put ourselves in harm’s way for others.”

The fifth recipient was Army soldier Sergeant L, recognised for her profound strength of character and integrity, who has a reputation for always doing the right thing, even in challenging circumstances. Being a recipient of the Jonathan Church Good Soldiering Award holds special meaning for her.

“I work with people every day that knew Trooper Church, went to selection with him, served with him, and even someone that was on the helicopter crash that he died in,” she said.


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