Our Andrew Russell Veteran Living program has its second anniversary on the 16th February 2019. This date is significant as it is the date that Andrew Russell was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2002. Andrew’s parents and wife have graciously allowed RSL Care SA to use Andrew’s name for our program to assist contemporary veterans that are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The aim of the program is to provide accommodation support to help veterans get back on their feet.
Kane is one such contemporary veteran who found himself in a situation where he was in need of accommodation assistance so he could move forward with his life. “ARVL provided a roof over my head, it was safe, it was affordable, and I could regain some level of normalcy in my life. It was what I needed at the time.”
Through the ARVL program Kane got to know Program Manager, Ben Challinor, and through volunteering at various RSLs, also got to know RSL Care SA CEO, Nathan Klinge. When an opportunity arose in RSL Care SA, Ben asked Kane if he would be interested in applying for the role of Veteran Support Officer.
A number of people were interviewed for the position, and Kane was subsequently employed and is doing an outstanding job.
Kane was deployed to Afghanistan and unfortunately now suffers from PTSD, after the vehicle he was in hit an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Kane acknowledges he is “still affected by PTSD, but it doesn’t make me useless. I’m still able to come to work and do the work I do, but I struggle at times”.
If Kane could offer one piece of advice to anyone who finds themselves suffering from PTSD it is this: “Seek help. There are plenty of places out there who offer help. If you’re not comfortable with that, then ask your mates. It’s not a bad thing to put your hand up and say you’re not okay”.
As an organisation we are so proud not just of Kane, but that the ARVL program has made such a positive impact on the lives of many veterans the program has assisted over the years.