Each year Defence hosts the National Employer Support Awards to recognise the civilian employers of ADF reservists. 

This support has been critical to Defence capability, particularly during Operations Bushfire Assist and COVID-19 Assist.

At the awards announcement, Deputy Mayor of Kangaroo Island Councillor Bob Teasdale reflected on the catastrophic fires that swept across the island and the support provided by the ADF, including more than 700 ADF reservists.

“On the 20th of December 2019, our island changed forever. This was when the first of the firestorms struck the island,” Councillor Teasdale said. 

“They continued for another two months and in the end left half the island devastated. 

“In the middle of this destruction, the Australian Defence Force rolled in.”

Two reservists who were deployed to Kangaroo Island, Corporal Amy Braham and Private Anil Sansri, visited the Cleland Wildlife Park in South Australia with Councillor Teasdale recently to be reunited with some of the rescued koalas. 

Corporal Braham, of 9 Combat Services Support Battalion, said it was heartbreaking to see the devastation of the community. 

“Knowing that we were there and really making a difference in the lives of people in need was an amazing experience - one that, as a reservist, I will always remember,” she said. 

Corporal Braham said she was lucky and fortunate to have the support of her civilian employer, the Adelaide Secondary School of English. 

“That has made it even easier to be able to fulfil my role and really help the people of Kangaroo Island,” she said.

Councillor Teasdale extended his appreciation on behalf of the Kangaroo Island community for the assistance of reservists and their employers during the bushfires. 

“Our sense of gratitude for the reservists is profound. Our admiration for their professionalism is sincere,” Councillor Teasdale said. 

“We’re very aware that they gave up so much to come and we’re grateful too to their employers who released them. We thank them all for their amazing contribution and commitment to helping our island get back on its feet.”

Because of COVID-19, the 2020 National Employer Support Award winners were announced in a virtual event by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Darren Chester. The winners were: Large private sector organisation - FDC Construction and Fitouts; Medium private sector organisation - Agfa HealthCare; Small private sector organisation - Project Everest Ventures; Public sector organisation - Flinders Island District High School ; and, Not-for-profit organisation - Central Queensland University.

Honourable mentions were made to: Flinders Hospital - public sector organisation and Curtin University - not-for-profit organisation.

Watch the full announcement at: https://www.defencereservessupport.gov.au/latest-news/news/2020-national-employer-support-award-winners/