Royal Australian Navy personnel in the Shoalhaven have a close working relationship with the region’s emergency services, and are regularly called on to assist in a range of critical situations including search and rescue operations, bushfires and floods.
The latest call for assistance was of a very different nature, and while having some very serious aims, involved a large component of fun.
As part of the Police Citizen Youth Club’s (PCYC) ‘Do Time To Stop Youth Crime’ initiative Leading Seaman James Walker and Lieutenant Commander Steve Delo of HMAS Creswell, and Acting Commander of HMAS Albatross, Commander Mathew Bradley were taken into ‘custody’ by two policeman and placed in a makeshift cell at Nowra’s central shopping plaza. They had to remain locked up until they had raised raised ‘bail’ - bail being fundraising dollars for the cause.
PCYC is Australia’s leading youth development organisation with over 200,000 members throughout Australia. All money raised supports projects which aim to get young people active in life, work with young people to develop life and leadership skills and prevent and reduce youth crime.
Lieutenant Commander Delo, Head of Officer Initial Training at Creswell, said the aims of the PCYC align with many Navy values.
“Everyone from time to time needs assistance in order to break away from the former life cycle and start afresh. This often takes individual acts of courage and leadership, values which Navy hold dear.”
“If young people are ever going to break into the adult world and take full part in society, they need understanding and support and I hope that by taking part in this exercise I help raise awareness that Navy is willing to assist in our community in such a valuable project,” said LCDR Delo.
As a bit of fun, wife of Commander Bradley, Trish Bradley, was keen to see her husband out from behind bars and delivered him a cupcake with a file inside it to attempt escape, however, there was no cause for concern as the three men raised over $2500 between them.
Commander Bradley said that he was happy to take time out to do time for such a worthwhile cause.
“Navy are very much part of the local community and we’re always keen to support activities with a focus on young people.
“The PCYC do a great job providing a safe environment in which young people are given opportunities to engage in fun, safe activities and this is particularly important in regional areas which are often under resourced.
“Another important aspect of an event like this is that it showcases the work of PCYC Police and their work in helping turn young lives around.”