Statement from the fiancée of Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald, Rachael Sprigg- McKinnie
4 September 2012
Defence releases the following statement on behalf of the fiancée of Lance Corporal Merv McDonald, Ms Rachael Sprigg-McKinnie.
Merv was the warmest guy you’d ever meet. You could see it in his eyes, they had a special sparkle.
He was a real Aussie bloke with a passion for his country, especially its natural splendour. Merv could often be found four-wheel driving and going for bushwalks, but really his favourite place was the ocean. Merv just loved being in the water and the beach was his second home, where he could often be found swimming, spearing or barbequing.
They were simple pleasures which filled his soul.
But no place brought out Merv’s magnificent smile like the west coast of Australia. He had a nomadic childhood in Western Australia and crossing the border into his home state was always a special moment for Merv. His affection for WA was passionately extended to the West Coast Eagles footy club.
Unfortunately Merv’s last visit to Carnarvon a couple of months ago was bittersweet, as he made the trek home to farewell his father who recently passed. What gave Merv strength though was his gratitude to be home and with his family.
Merv was the sort of man who always stayed connected with his family. There was never any doubt of the love he had for them and Merv certainly received plenty of love in return. He was also a fantastic uncle who adored his nieces and nephews. Clowning around with the kids, taking them down the beach and simply throwing a ball around gave him joy.
The other side of Merv was the soldier. He loved the Army and being a digger. Even after several tours, he felt a real sense of duty to return to Afghanistan and he was committed to sharing his experience with his team and 2nd Commando Regiment. Words cannot express just how proud I am of the service he has given his mates and his country. Merv would be deeply touched by how the Army family has rallied around to support those he loved.
When I first met Merv I was struck by his smile. It was a beautiful, illuminating smile that betrayed his tough guy exterior.
Merv had an infectious personality and he was simply amazing, on a natural high and unlike anyone else I’d ever known. He had old fashioned principles and was an absolute gentleman who knew how to treat a lady.
My fiancé changed my world by showing me new ways to think about things and by teaching me how to really experience life and believe in myself. We jammed so much into our 18 months together. Merv never missed a moment. He would stop to look at a rainbow or to smell the coffee.
We were due to be married in Bendigo next Easter Saturday and we were hoping to start a family soon after. Merv would have been a fantastic husband and a wonderful dad.
An image of Lance Corporal McDonald and Ms Rachael Sprigg-McKinnie, courtesy of Ms Sprigg-McKinnie, is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/12130817