A REMARKABLE hands-on project to provide Australian military veterans with something as simple – and dignified – as a proper job is coming to Echuca-Moama.
Looking for veterans to work on the bridge project.
Veterans In Construction was founded by veterans Dave Farrell and Dan Cairns and it is 100 per cent veteran owned and operated.
In a nutshell many retired or discharged military find it hard to fit back into mainstream society for a number of reasons – from the highly publicised challenges with PTSD to the difficulty ex-service personnel have in fitting their highly specialised training into the more general civilian world.
Dave said the other thing many military lack when they leave the service and try to find a job is their resume.
“There can be this gap of five or 10 or more where they were in the service and while the military teaches you many things they don’t all translate smoothly into the civilian world,” he explained.
And Dave would understand the problems. He served for 18 years in the army, the last 14 with the legendary SAS during six tours of Afghanistan, one of Iraq and twice to East Timor.
While in Afghanistan he also received a Medal for Gallantry.
Married with three children he said he went through one firefight too many.
“We were under heavy fire and I was squeezing myself down as much as I could behind this rock with bullets and stone chips flying everywhere,” Dave said.
“And all I could think was ‘you need a new career’,” he said.
“It wasn’t fair on my family so I left but it is a different world out here even though I had become a registered builder myself.”
Dave said when he and Dan (who was in construction after serving as an artillery officer in Iraq) met they could see the need for something that suited people such as them so they decided to do something about it.
Outdoors work, with similar structure to the military and work that is classified as high-risk – without the gunfire.
“That type of work has proved a really good fit and that’s why we are here in Echuca-Moama – we have been approached about providing vets for the bridge project,” Dave said.
“It is a 130-week project covering bridges across the Campaspe (eight spans) and Murray (as many as 14 spans) with boots on the ground expected in October/November this year,” he said.
So we want to run an information night at Moama RSL to try and get a handle on how many veterans there are in the area and how many might be interested in this type of work.
“It doesn’t matter if you were army, navy, air force or reservist you qualify.”
The bridge project covers both civil and bridge works and will be needing people for civil works, plant operators, general labour, traffic management, rigging and dogging.
It may include concreters, steel fixers, formwork chippies. The earthworks alone will involve importing 200,000 cubic metres of fill.
The information night has been set for Monday February 25 at 7pm.
■For more detail you can email [email protected] or phone Dave Farrell on 0414 417 769 or Moama RSL sub-branch president Ken Jones on 0408 384 670.