Army reservists, Privates Gerard Emmett and Leonidas Shawkey, of 2nd Force Support Battalion, have answered the call for support during Operation COVID-19 Assist. 

The Horsham locals are helping with the Victorian state response to the pandemic in their roles as drivers in the Royal Australian Transport Corps. 

For Private Emmett, this is the second time he has been asked to provide assistance, only months after he finished supporting his community during Operation Bushfire Assist.  

“Our role is important because we are getting vital supplies to ADF personnel on the frontline,” Private Emmett said. 

“Giving something back to local communities and helping them out as best as we can is a good feeling.”

In his civilian role, Private Emmett works as a courier and loves driving trucks, which he does for both jobs. 

“What I am doing in my reserve role is similar to my civilian job as a courier in Horsham, except in the ADF I get to go off road,” Private Emmett said. 

For Private Shawkey, Operation COVID-19 Assist is his first operation. He plans on volunteering for as long as the operation lasts.

“I drive to and from areas, delivering stores and equipment, whatever the ADF needs,” Private Shawkey said. 

“Delivering supplies is a crucial part. Without us, the stores don’t get moved, and people don’t get what they need.” 

Private Shawkey’s civilian job as a driver has prepared him for the operation’s tasks.

“My civilian skills involve working with people, so talking with people is something I enjoy,” he said.

“I think this has transferred over to my reservist job.

“Part of the job is being on the road, in the public eye so being able to deal with people is crucial.”