Life for the members of Australia’s 9th Brigade hasn’t been easy lately. With an area larger than the island nation of Iceland on fire, a number of regiments in the Australian Army have been called to assist. Others are lending a hand, and a bottle, out of a spirit of duty and compassion.
The 16 Regiment Emergency Support Force, for example, have been spending their rest periods helping animals at the Cleland Wildlife Park. While some of the soldiers have proven helpful in building combing mounts inside the park, others have been grabbing blankets and hoisting elbows, nursing the hungry baby koalas who live there.
“A great morale boost for our hard working team in the Adelaide Hills,” the 9th Brigade posted to Facebook.
Images of the troops with koalas nestled in their arms has drawn no shortage of attention.
“This should be part of the training reservists and regular soldiers do in case of disasters,” commented Jeanette Rengel. “Include medical and other skills ie firefighting , law enforcement. Make it a national initiative. Like the national guard.”
“There you go another photo showing Aussies sticking together to help anyway they can,” wrote Arlene Davies. “Great work fellows and gals. The future will be ours. The animals will never forget this. The kindness of people.”
“Yes it is a beautiful sight to see two species entwined thanks guys, you rock ❤” wrote Julie Eldridge.
“I love this picture,” posted Dianne Bale. “How many soldiers get this wonderful opportunity. The koalas look like hairy babies and are very comfortable thank you very much.”
“If this doesn’t make you proud to be an Aussie, then nothing will,” wrote Tracey Mitchell. “Thank you to all the wonderful and dedicated men and women who have so tirelessly fought for our beautiful country, in so many ways ❤ Now here they are again, with another fight on their hands to help with the fires and in saving our precious wildlife. Bless you all and those little babies you are feeding 💕”
“I just want to give a shout out to the people of Australia from Montana in the USA,” wrote Kit McLain. “I am overcome by their efforts to save their native animals that have been injured in the fire￼￼s. Not to mention over one billion lost. 😢 Many are only found in their great land. Their efforts are phenomenal as seen on the news and Facebook. I love the articles and especially the videos. What a horrible predicament to be in but…￼￼￼ they are kicking a__! You are amazing, dedicated, and loving people. I am still crocheting little nests to do my small part but I want you to know how much I admire you ❤️ “
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.