Diggers on COVID frontline in Western NSW receive RSL surprise

RSL NSW veteran members have delivered 100 care packages to Australian Defence Force (ADF) clinicians and support personnel deployed in Western NSW to say thank you for their efforts in response to the COVID-19 situation.

The care packages, consisting of personal care items and treats not otherwise accessible by troops while on deployment, were delivered by veteran members of the Dubbo RSL sub-Branch to the ADF Task Force’s temporary headquarters at the NSW Rural Fire Service Training Academy at the Dubbo City Regional Airport.

RSL NSW President Ray James said the circumstances resemble what troops often experience while on deployment overseas, which is typically where the RSL sends care packages to support them.

“The teams are doing the hard slog day in and day out and, while due to the limitations of their ‘bubble’, are unable to leave their accommodation to purchase snacks or enjoy morale boosting activities.

The care packages might seem a small thing, but they do make a difference and RSL NSW is committed to helping our troops wherever they might be deployed,” he said.

As part of the Whole of Government response to the COVID-19 situation across the state, the ADF has deployed clinicians and support personnel in five Vaccination Outreach Teams in Western NSW. Starting in West Dubbo, the teams fanned out across the region to provide regional, remote and vulnerable communities with COVID-19 vaccinations.

The New South Wales Commander of Operation COVID-19 Assist Colonel Warwick Young said the care packages were a thoughtful gesture.

“On behalf of Australian Defence Force members deployed in the Dubbo area on Operation COVID-19 Assist I thank RSL NSW veteran members for their kindness and consideration.  The care packages come from the heart, from men and women who have served their country with pride, who know what it’s like to be deployed for extended periods,” he said.

Dubbo RSL sub-Branch President Tom Gray said the presence of the ADF has been vital to protecting local communities in Western NSW from the worst of COVID-19 and that it was only right to acknowledge their work along with their civilian healthcare counterparts.

“This is a small way that members of the League can let them know that the veteran community is right behind them,” he remarked.

RSL NSW is a member-based charity and does not own or operate clubs or benefit from the proceeds of the sale of alcohol or gambling. As an ex-service organization RSL NSW and its sub-Branches are committed to supporting current and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force.

Image: Lieutenant Peter Williamson (Right) receives the RSL NSW care packages on behalf of the ADF from President of the Dubbo RSL sub-Branch Tom Gray.