A former aircraft mechanic from the Philippines Craftsman Dennis Bernardo is using his language skills on Operation COVID-19 Assist. 

Craftsman Bernardo moved to Australia in 1997 and undertook a light-vehicle mechanical apprenticeship before joining the Australian Army.

Downing tools from his usual role at 7th Combat Service Support Battalion, Craftsman Bernardo is supporting the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services by translating important information into Filipino. 

“When I moved to Australia it completely changed everything. The people and the country have given me a chance to live a wonderful life,” Craftsman Bernardo said.

“I joined the Australian Army to give back to the country that has given my family and me so much.

“To be able to translate government safety standards to fellow Filipinos who don't speak English well is important to me.

“Supporting the department with linguistic taskings in Regional Victoria makes me feel extremely proud to be a Filipino serving in the Australian Army.”

Craftsman Bernardo said going from physical interaction to conversing via telephone had been a significant change.

“Communicating over the phone is certainly different, but I know the role we are playing here is just as important as the one in Colac,” he said.  

“The task has changed, but the goal posts haven't – we still understand our mission in supporting the Australian people during these hard times.”