DARONMONT AND RSB TEAM UP TO SUPPORT VETERANS THIS ANZAC DAY
The Royal Society for the Blind SA’s (RSB) OPK9 program provides Assistance Dogs to Veterans experiencing post traumatic stress disorder. Since the program began in 2014, over 50 veterans have been supported with an RSB Assistance Dog to live a better life.
Working primarily in the Defence sector and employing a number of ex service personnel, the welfare of Veterans has always been a concern of the Daronmont team. A chance meeting between Daronmont CEO Ben Norris and OPK9 dog Gunner Murray (an RSB graduate posted to 16th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery) a number of years ago has led to a meaningful partnership through the OPK9 program.
“We were seeking a way to support Veterans and this life-changing program resonated as a way to truly make a difference,” said Ben.
“While we know our financial support has allowed RSB to grow the program and supported many Veterans, what has been most special for us has been the bond we’ve formed with Trevor, one of the first Veterans to receive an assistance dog.
“Trevor, his wife Sue and his beautiful dog Sophie have become part of the Daronmont family. We’ve seen firsthand the impact Sophie has had on Trevor and his family and it’s remarkable. Trevor lives a confident and full life that he wouldn’t have thought possible before Sophie. He regularly visits our team to talk about his story of resilience and how our support has changed his life.”
For the second year running Daronmont are offering to match all donations to the RSB’s OPK9 program to the value of $30,000. This will be during April, a time when we mark Anzac Day and reflect on the impact of all conflicts.
According to RSB Executive Director Damian Papps, it can take many years for Veterans to speak up about their PTSD and acknowledge they need help, which can take the form of an Assistance Dog.
“We know that Veterans experience PTSD at much higher rates than the general population. We are very proud to be able to deliver a program that carefully matches highly trained Assistance Dogs with Veterans, combined with the right support, that allows Veterans to move on in a positive way,” Damian said.
“The long partnership we have with Daronmont is also something very special to us. We share the same values in helping Veterans to live their best lives with their families and friends.”