True Heroes – Veteran, Wayne Larson

Disaster Relief Australia | April 2022

wayne larson

In the 80’s I was a writer in the Navy. My grandfather, my great uncle, cousins, myself and now my son, all joined the Navy. It was generational. After 5 years of service, I left and headed down a pathway in training and development, training in First Aid and computers with the Queensland Ambulance, Red Cross and Qld TAFE. I also spent 10 years developing and training teenagers in the Australian Navy Cadets while my son was growing up.

I grew up in a big family. From the young age of 5, I had the urge to help other people for a small time whilst in a Qld orphanage. I knew how tough life could be and wanted to ensure that no others had to endure hardship without support. This is my purpose, my why in life. Wherever I can, I help. This is what attracted me to DRA and what we do for the community.

Last year in July, I was sitting watching the tv with my wife when Disaster Relief Australia appeared on Sunrise with members assisting the community after the 2019/2020 bushfires. It was at that point that I decided to do more in my spare time. I went on to the DRA website and submitted an EOI to join. Two weeks later I become membership coordinator for southern Queensland because of my previous skills, training and a desire to help as much as possible.

Operation Kelliher is my third deployment with DRA. My first deployment was to Coolah to assist with Operation Traill after flooding. I have now been on two deployments to Operation Kelliher. The first operation I assisted in the IMT, however this time I am on the ground as part of a strike team, to support the people and community of Coraki. It has been eye opening talking to people and listening to their stories. I definitely take my hat off to the community and their strengths. They are the true heros.