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Kieren Dawson – Geelong

Geelong’s Kieren Dawson has come along way in the Army since working at KFC and the Great Australian Ice Creamery.

Kieran is today an Army corporal based at the Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, where his skills as a diesel mechanic are very much in demand.

Kieren is bracing for Christmas away from his wife, Rebecca, but knows he is doing an important job for the Australian military in support of the mission in Afghanistan.

“My job involves repairing all manner of road transport vehicles and trailers,” he said.

“I also conduct regular servicing and manage maintenance workshops which provide training for younger trade personnel.”

This is Kieran’s second deployment with the Australian military to the Middle East. In 2010, he deployed to Multi National Base – Tarin Kot in Afghanistan, where Australian troops have helped to restore regional stability.

“It’s been a real privilege for me to witness the positive changes regarding our contribution in Afghanistan, especially the development of the Afghan National Security Forces.

The Australian Defence Force has made a very large contribution to Afghanistan and I could see that from the moment I stepped foot on the ground for my second trip, three years after my first,” he said.

Kieren said he has come along way in life since joining the Army.

“Prior to stepping into the Australian Army uniform, I worked at KFC in Belmont Victoria, and as the Staff Manager at the Great Australian Ice Creamery,” he said.

That seems a world away now, as he faces the festive season away from his family who remain in Geelong, in Victoria.

“I am really looking forward to seeing my wife Rebecca again as well as the rest of my family for a late Christmas,” he said.

Keren is also looking forward to catching up with his father Paul, who works at Hougen Australia, and his mother Lyn.

“It is disappointing knowing that I will miss Christmas this year, but I hope my family enjoy it all the same.”