Despite Navy’s small presence in South Australia, two employers of local Navy Reservists were recognised for their support of the Australian Defence Force Reserves at the recent Defence Reserve Support Council – South Australia (DRSC-SA) Employer Support Awards (ESA).
Commander Steve Dunning’s employer, the Veterans' and Veterans' Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Petty Officer Musician Tom Bastian’s employer, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO) won two of the five award categories in what was a highly competitive field of candidates.
Chair of DRSC-SA, Dr Pamela Schulz, in acknowledging the difficult task of choosing the major award winners, said it was important to build and maintain strong links with employer groups, and advocate Reserve service to those employers and organisations in South Australia and the general community.
“DRSC-SA hosts the Employer Support Awards (ESA) annually as an opportunity to publicly thank and recognise outstanding employers for their support of Australian Defence Force Reservists,” Dr Schulz said.
VVCS-SA employee and long standing Navy Reservist, Commander Dunning said he nominated his employer for the ‘Public Sector Category’ award because of the agency’s unwavering support and encouragement to undertake Reserve service.
“VVCS has encouraged, facilitated and actively enabled me and an Army Reserve colleague to pursue our Reserve careers by ensuring leave was granted to attend training, exercises and numerous deployments despite it often impacting on the workload of the small team in South Australia.
“VVCS has also promoted my Reserve involvement and utilised my knowledge and experience to maintain critical links with stakeholders whilst also educating colleagues and staff on military culture, traditions and values,” Commander Dunning said.
Petty Officer Bastians was equally effusive about the support he has received from the ASO, his employer of three years, whom he nominated for the ‘Not for Profit Category’ award.
“The ASO has actively supported me and has encouraged my Reserve service from the day I joined. Despite being a relatively new employee, they allowed me time off to do Reserve service during the International Fleet Review, and have also gotten involved in DRSC-SA Employer Challenge Days,” Petty Officer Bastians said.
An accomplished clarinet, saxophone and keyboard player, Petty Officer Bastians is also the ASO’s Customer Service Manager and brings some 10 years full-time Navy experience to his current duties.
Deputy Head Cadet, Reserves and Employer Support Division, Commodore Bob Morrison offered his congratulations to all the award recipients.
“Our Reserve forces considerably enhance Defence capability,” Commodore Morrison said.
“Without the ongoing support of employers, such as those represented at these awards, it would not be possible for Reservists to successfully synchronise their civilian and Service roles.”
More than 120 Navy, Army and Air Force Reservists, their employers and guests attended the prestigious ceremony where the Governor of South Australia, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Lee acknowledged the role of Reservist employers of South Australia and thanked them for their role within the Defence family.
The annual Awards held at the picturesque Adelaide Oval had a distinct Navy flavour as entertainment for the evening was provided by a jazz ensemble from the South Australian Detachment of the Royal Australian Navy Band under the leadership of Petty Officer Bastians.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20142716.