“It is about appreciating that even the strongest, even the bravest, even the toughest, can carry scars through life that need to be understood and accepted. I congratulate Soldier On for the work they’re doing … recognising and helping all who are part of our ex service community.” – The Hon Tony Abbott MP, former Prime Minister of Australia
Founded in 2012, the organisation was inspired by the death of a friend. Lieutenant Michael Fussell was killed in an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2008 and his friend John Bale looked for a way to support those who survived the blast. He quickly realised there was no easy or accessible way for members of the Defence forces, or the public, to show their support for those wounded in battle. With his wife Danielle, they reached out to his fellow soldiers and enlisted the help of Cavin Wilson, who had been posted to Afghanistan to assist in returning soldiers killed or wounded in action. Together they decided it was time to start an organisation that connected these men and women to the wider public, ensuring these brave sailors, soldiers, airmen and airwomen could be cared for and lead fulfilling and successful lives. In its first year, Soldier On assisted 200 veterans in three states, with one Centre established in Adelaide. In 2015, we assisted 500 veterans a month and established two new Centres in Canberra and Sydney. In 2016 and beyond we expect to help thousand more with Centres established in Melbourne, Perth, Currumbin at the Gold Coast and many more locations across Australia.