Trooper Keegan Veivers is using his Army values – courage, initiative, respect and teamwork to connect with at-risk communities in Colac, Victoria, during his service on Operation COVID-19 Assist.
He is one of the many ADF members supporting Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services and Victoria Police personnel to complete doorknock checks for COVID-19 quarantine compliance.
The 20-year-old driver from Townsville said his Army training and his family’s values were helping him communicate with local communities in Colac.
“My dad was in the Army, and taught me to be respectful, polite and courteous to all people,” Trooper Vievers said.
“My sister is also in the Army and they have both been very supportive as this is my first deployment.”
I have learned a whole new range of skills in this deployment – an experience I will not forget
Trooper Veivers deployed to Victoria with a contingent from the 7th Brigade’s 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment. He said he initially found it difficult to engage with the communities in Colac, as many residents spoke languages other than English.
To adapt, he built on his own experience as a Torres Straits Islander – he speaks creole at home with his family – and the skills shared by his colleagues from Department of Health and Human Services to make a difference.
“Listening and speaking in plain English and sharing papers or pictures has been important to connect the dots,” Trooper Vievers said.
“My Victorian colleagues are great to work with.
"They are professional and great people and have been so supportive.
"I have learned a whole new range of skills in this deployment – an experience I will not forget.”
Reflecting on the operation so far, Trooper Vievers said he had experienced some reminders of northern Queensland.
“Colac reminded me a lot of Townsville, but colder -– a small hardworking place where everyone knows everyone and is just trying to do their part,” Trooper Vievers said.
“This is a very rough time for Colac and for all of Victoria and I am proud to be able to help in my small way.
"I have been touched by how welcoming the people of Colac have been at this difficult time.”
Trooper Veivers said he is missing sport – he loves playing and watching rugby league. In Townsville he plays for the United Suburbs Redbacks rugby league club and West Mitchelton rugby league club. He has also played for the North Brisbane Lions.