UPDATE: For anyone who wants to/is donating to the Christmas Care Packages for deployed Aussie troops, we are holding a “thank you” morning tea on December 4th. This will also give you the opportunity to drop off your donations in-person. Individuals and businesses welcome.
I don’t usually write blogs from a personal perspective, but I believe given the year our company has had, and our staff personally, it’s appropriate to do so this time.
As our current clients, business partners and friends know, our company Directors suffered significant losses this year. In September – during peak council election campaign time – our Managing Director’s father (also my grandfather) passed away after suffering an irreversible stroke. Bill Pickering (Senior) was instrumental in assisting regional North Queensland Communities both in raising educational standards and using his engineering expertise to improve sugar cane growing processes across the region.
In February, after recently returning to Hugo Halliday to help restructure and refocus the business, I lost my husband, Pete, in a motorcycle accident. He was just 34 years old and our son, Jaxon, was 8 months old at the time.
Without going into the ongoing emotional trauma such an instant, unexpected event causes, out of it came a flood of love and support from the most unexpected places, including from our own Clients which we will always remember and be grateful for (particular thanks must be given to Joe Chiha from Showground Corporation).
Pete proudly served in the Royal Australian Navy, one such outpour my family and I personally did not expect was the comradery and support which came from the Defence community. Pete’s colleagues, shocked by what had happened, set up a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for Jaxon and myself. Expecting some support, even the campaign creators were astounded when the campaign wrapped up at over $30,000.
In addition to this campaign, we were supported by the Defence Community Organisation (DCO) who helped organise and paid for the funeral (which it’s estimated over 400 people – mostly Navy personnel – attended). They also put us in contact with Veteran’s Affairs and Legacy. As Pete did active service in the Gulf, Jaxon is now known as a “Junior Legatee” and will receive support from Legacy until adulthood.
From the Defence community we also received gift vouchers, flowers, visits and one person organised a half time tribute to Pete during a Wests Tigers game (his favourite football team).
My family has always had a connection to the Defence Force, my father (our Managing Director – Bill) was in the army so I grew up as what they call an “army brat.” But never have I truly understood the mateship ideal until this year. I personally want to thank the Defence Force community for that. No matter what bad press comes out about the ADF, at its core there are genuine people who truly care about one another.
That’s why this year – in honour of Pete – the Hugo Halliday team have decided to give back by sending out Christmas Care Packages to actively serving Defence Force personnel.
As you can see from the photos we have already begun putting together some packages. We would, however, like to extend the offer to others to join us in thanking these service men and women for being away from their loved ones this Christmas to protect our right to live freely.
Those who wish to contribute to our Care Packages can deliver non-perishable goods to our office:
51/2 O’Connell Street Parramatta NSW 2150
The cut off for delivery is Monday December 4th 2017 to give us enough time to meet Defence’s deadline.
If you’d like to organise your own care packages, the Department of Defence have put together a wonderful article on how to do so.
I’d like to take one final moment to thank all our support network – the Defence Community, our clients, our business partners and our friends. We hope 2018 is a much more positive year for our staff and business and I look forward to reigniting working relationships and making new ones.
All the best.
Ideas for Care Packages:
I have been asked to provide ideas on what can be included in packages. While I’m not a serving member, these ideas are based off my own personal experience from sending packages to Pete and hearing from Defence personnel about what they like receiving (if you are a serving member, please share more ideas below!).
- Personal hygiene products (male and female)
- Chocolate with hard shells (eg: M&M’s)
- Lollies/candy which won’t melt
- Mini board games/card games etc.
- Dress up items
- Body paint
- Non-perishable food items (noodles etc.)
- Letters/cards of encouragement (particularly from children!)
- Puzzle books
- Playstation/xbox games
- Small tinned consumables
- …just think of what you would like to receive if you’ve been stuck on a ship or a base for months.
Thank you in advance for all your support. Let’s make our troops feel supported and appreciated this Christmas!