Adrian Doheney and Chris Rintoul estimate they’ve raised between 350-400,000 dollars between them over the years, with each generously giving around 150 hours of their time to the cause every year.
“A guy I used to work with served in Vietnam and he met Chris. When they came back from Vietnam, that’s how I met Chris. We used to frequent RSLs quite a bit!” says Adrian.
It’s a friendship that spans over 50 years, with lots of shared experiences and interests, including in their support for the RSL and its work.
“It’s very important because I’ve seen some [veterans] that are really struggling. They need to be looked after.”
From business travellers to backpackers, holiday makers and various staff, Adrian says the airport is a melting pot of people.
“They come up and ask us [what we are doing], some people can’t even speak English, but more often than not, they’ll donate because they understand it’s going to a good cause.”
For more than 100 years, the RSL’s annual Poppy Appeal has supported Australia’s veterans and their families when they needed our help.
Every donation to the Poppy Appeal supports veterans and their families.
Adrian’s long-time friend Chris served as a national serviceman and deployed to Vietnam between 1969 and 1970.
With such a diverse group of people at the Airport, Chris is happy to explain the importance of the money raised for the Appeal.
“A lot of people are still suffering from wars, from WW2 to Vietnam and since then. They still have injuries, physical or mental, because of their service and they deserve to be looked after.”
Chris has himself been on the receiving end of the RSL’s work.
“I got in touch with the Welfare Officer and after a process, they were able to secure a part pension for me. I was very grateful for that. I felt that I should be putting something back into it.”
For Adrian, it’s simply volunteer work wrapped up in a good day out.
“It’s just nice to be there, meet all sorts of people, see our regulars from year in year out. The staff out there are terrific and very supportive.”
With Airports bustling once again after two years of COVID restrictions, Adrian and Chris hope they’ll be kept busy with people popping past their impressive Appeal setups for a chat and a cash or tap-and-go donation.
“Last year it was sparse at the airport, so we’re expecting a full crowd this year and lots of money for this worthy work!” says Chris.