Navy people get tough for a good cause

Published on SBLT Todd Fitzgerald (author), ABIS Bonny Gassner (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney, NSW

Personnel from HMAS Watson prepare to participate in Sydney’s Tough Mudder event to raise money for Soldier On. (photo: ABIS Bonny Gassner)
Personnel from HMAS Watson prepare to participate in Sydney’s Tough Mudder event to raise money for Soldier On.

Royal Australian Navy personnel are renown for their spirit of adventure, ready to roll up their sleeves and get dirty when it’s time to lend a hand.
 
But when organisers of Tough Mudder, one of the world’s toughest and muddiest endurance courses, called for volunteers to help at their Sydney event, a few officers and sailors went above and beyond the call of duty.
 
Sub Lieutenant Clodagh O’Neill will be one of those taking part in the 16 to 19km event this weekend and later will collect donations for Soldier On, an Australian charity dedicated to improving the lives of wounded servicemen and women.
 
HMAS Kuttabul Commanding Officer, Commander Todd Willson, encouraged more personnel to get involved.
 
“Participating in Tough Mudder is about camaraderie, team work, motivation, resilience and overcoming your fears, which aligns closely with Navy’s values and the qualities we expect in our people.
 
“There is nothing like overcoming a tough physical challenge to bring out the best in individuals,” Commander Willson said.

Midshipman Ben Morgan and Midshipman Chanelle Smith prepare to participate in Sydney’s Tough Mudder event to raise money for Soldier On.

Midshipman Ben Morgan and Midshipman Chanelle Smith prepare to participate in Sydney’s Tough Mudder event to raise money for Soldier On.


 
“Navy’s participation will raise funds for Soldier On, a charity dedicated to assisting wounded servicemen and women, which Navy is proud to assist.”
 
Tough Mudder was designed by British Special Forces, with obstacles such as the infamous Electroshock Therapy - a muddy field of live wires, hay bales and deep sinkholes.
 
Participants aren’t timed. The aim is just to finish. Each person must commit to helping others complete the course, putting teammates before themselves.

Every dollar donated to Soldier On goes towards programs to help our wounded, explained founder of the charity Mr John Bale.

“We want to make sure our wounded are able to overcome the obstacles caused by their injuries; enjoy happy, fulfilling lives; and feel proud for the sacrifices they have made,” he said.
 
Tough Mudder is on the weekend of 15 November. Navy members who volunteer to collect donations on Sunday will be ‘rewarded’ with free entry to participate on Saturday.
 
Navy’s involvement in Tough Mudder and Soldier On is just one way the service gets involved in the community, promoting fitness and teamwork as a lifestyle.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143473.