When John Naidu finished high school, his goal was to join the Australian Defence Force and serve his country. After 15 years of service, including seven tours to Afghanistan, Pakistan, East Timor and the Solomon Islands, John discharged from the Australian Defence Force and now volunteers his time supporting local veterans within his community.
After moving his way up the ranks from a Private Soldier to a Platoon Sergeant and Instructor in New South Wales, John discharged in Melbourne and settled in Woodlea Estate with his family.
Shortly after moving to the estate, John became a member of the local RSL in Caroline Springs to provide support for both current and former Australian Defence Force members and their dependents.
With a majority of the veterans in the area from the Vietnam War, Caroline Springs RSL was lacking support from younger veterans; John was invited to become Vice President for his ability to provide relatable support for the younger Veterans with similar experience to his own.
Alongside other RSL members, John takes the time to regularly visit veterans in the area to provide social support to those who are his age, as well as the older generations in retirement homes.
“Veterans can isolate themselves from the community for reasons relating to poor mental health, so we make the effort to visit, take them out for coffee and offer a social outlet,” said John.
“Public transport and busy public places in general can often be overwhelming to veterans with anxiety or who have a fear of crowds. We find that if we take them along to different places, we can help them grow more confident.”