Reservist Chaplain helps with evacuee wellbeing

Royal Australian Air Force Reservist Chaplain Robert Hayman reckons just ‘being there’ to be a shoulder to cry on can make the world of difference when helping people deal with the devastating losses from the recent bushfires.

CHAP Hayman is currently serving on OPERATION Bushfire Assist 2019-20 providing pastoral care and counselling to residents evacuated from bushfire-ravaged communities in Victoria.

“My main role is to help the evacuees once they step off the plane and make sure there is personal support for them,” CHAP Hayman said.

“There were definitely some distressed people.  They were fleeing flames, so emotions were raw. However, for some evacuees when they got to the RAAF Base, the immediate danger
had passed so there was an emotional release.”

He is one of more than 3000 ADF members who answered the historic call out of Reservists to assist recovery efforts for communities affected by the recent devastating bushfires.

CHAP Hayman has paid tribute to his civilian employer the Baptist Union for their flexible employment arrangements which has allowed him to take leave to serve on the Operation.

“My roles in the local church, regional church commitments and ADF roles have dovetailed well and I have been able to utilise contacts and local knowledge well,” he said.

“The local Baptist Church is the local relief centre. Therefore, when transitioning to my Air Force role, I already knew how all the different agencies operated.

“There is a lot of flexibility with my role with the Baptist Union. It’s about working seamlessly between both roles to provide much needed community wellbeing outcomes.”

Reserve and Youth Division Head Rear Admiral Brett Wolski said Defence appreciated and thanked all employers for their support of ADF Reservists and the important service these Reservist were providing to the nation.

“Reservists are highly motivated people who take on training and service with enthusiasm and commitment,” RADM Wolski said.

“They offer a range of skills that can be transferred directly to your organisation including leadership, teamwork and problem solving.”

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Royal Australian Air Force Chaplain Robert Hayman gives support while Victorian paramedic Bonny Fitzpatrick (left) attends to evacuees from Mallacoota Beach at RAAF Base East Sale, in support of Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20.


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Last update: Tuesday, 26 October 2021

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