A former Coombabah State High School student has found himself back at school, this time in the typhoon devastated Philippines.
Brad Bennett, 20, is one of 500 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel who have deployed to the Philippines in the wake of the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.
Brad is a Navy cook serving in the heavy-lift ship, HMAS Tobruk, which is spear-heading the ADF’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operation in Ormoc city, on Leyte Island.
When not cooking meals for the crew, Brad and his shipmates are going ashore to help Australian Army engineers clean up and repair schools and public places devastated by the deadly typhoon.
“I have been volunteering to go ashore with the work parties because I can make a small difference to help the victims who have lost so much and suffered so much,” he said.
Brad has been helping the army engineers to clean up debris from schools in Ormoc city, which has drawn praise from the local people.
Brad said his parents, Rod and Kerry Bennett, of Labrador, were proud of his role in the disaster relief operation.
“This is my first time at sea, after only 10 months in the Navy, so I know my family are especially proud me,” he said.
“My experiences have been hard but rewarding, because helping people less fortunate makes it all worthwhile.
“I joined the Navy for job security and to travel the world.”
Brad arrived at Leyte Island onboard Tobruk on November 26, when he and other ADF personnel immediately commenced recovery support operations to help repair the damage caused by the typhoon.