Commanding Officers participate in ‘Vinnies CEO Sleepout’ Charity Event

Imagine sleeping on the pavement on a freezing winter’s night with nothing but the clothes you are wearing and a piece of cardboard for protection. As anyone who has had a posting to RAAF Base Williams will attest, Melbourne in winter can get pretty chilly. 

Six Commanding Officers (COs) from RAAF Base Williams will be doing just that as they aim to raise thousands of dollars in donations through their participation in the ‘2018 Vinnies CEO Sleepout’ charity event in June.

WGCDR Paul Deighton, current CO Defence Force School of Languages (DFSL); WGCDR John Ward, incoming CO DFSL; WGCDR James Rogers, CO 21 Squadron; WGCDR James Allen, CO Headquarters Air Force Training Group; CMDR David Goble, CO Defence International Training Centre; and SQNLDR Mark Pentreath, CO Air Force Band are all participating in this charity event.

“The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is an annual charity event to support St Vincent de Paul Society (Vinnies) in their efforts to address the growing problems of poverty and homelessness in the community,” said WGCDR Ward.

“We know this is a social issue that also impacts ADF veterans and through our participation we want to raise community understanding of the plight of all homeless in Australia”.

The Vinnie’s sleepout was first launched in Sydney in 2006 and has since grown into a successful national event hosted annually during winter in 11 locations across Australia.

“It is open exclusively to CEOs, business executives, government and community leaders, who are in good positions to influence and can bring more awareness to poverty and homelessness.

“In addition to raising much needed funds this worthy cause, we aim to lead a public conversation about how policy makers, community leaders and individuals can better support the most vulnerable members of our community.”

Each participant will sleep outdoor in a sleeping bag and on a piece of cardboard between 6pm-7am on 21-22 June in 11 locations across the country.

This experience aims to allow participants to reflect on the pressures felt by people who are caught in the grips of homelessness.

“It is going to be challenging to sleep outdoor overnight in the thick of winter and I am sure it will bring back memories of Officer Training School for all of us; however I am glad that we are supporting this meaningful community initiative.

“Between the six of us we aim to raise $30,000. Our fundraising effort will help to ensure Vinnies’ volunteers have the resources they need to help people in poverty and homelessness.

“The Royal Australian Air Force has a great relationship with the Melbourne community and I am proud to participate in this event as an Air Force member along with the other COs on base.” 

Every single donation counts, to help put an end to the cycle of homelessness visit: https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/fundraisers/raafbasewilliamscommanders

By Flight Lieutenant Tracey Li