Recently graduated recruits of course 12-21, No. 1 Recruit Training Unit, donated $2500 and 120 RAAF teddy bears to Ronald McDonald House Wagga Wagga.

The course, made up predominantly of Gap Year recruits, recognised the unique difficulties faced by hospitalised children during NSW’s COVID-19 restrictions and sought to bring some joy to the wards.

Aircraftman Antonio Keedle-Grandeza, who presented the donations to Lisa Simpson, Executive Officer of Ronald McDonald House Wagga Wagga branch, was proud of his unit's effort. 

“Though we were a young course, everyone was keen to make a big donation, because there are others out there, particularly seriously ill kids, who can use the help more than us,” Aircraftman Keedle-Grandeza said.

“By providing the teddies, as well as the money, we wanted to show that the Air Force is here to help the community.”

Course military skills instructor Sergeant Thomas Giles said the trainees recognised the troubles that children were experiencing during the lockdowns. 

“They were thinking of the troubles children might face when hospitalised during this pandemic, and they loved the idea of a local charity,” Sergeant Giles said.

“So the local Ronald McDonald House was the perfect fit.” 

Since graduating in early September, the recruits have gone on to initial employment training in various fields.