Wounded Warrior new RSA patron
Wounded Warrior new RSA patron
The past patrons of the Auckland RSA have included a prime minister, commanders and captains of industry, even a fashion icon, but today Auckland RSA is proud to welcome Afghanistan veteran and New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Invictus team captain, Jason Pore, as its new patron.
Jason Pore (45) joined the New Zealand Army in 1990, and served in the 1st Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1RNZIR) and the New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS), deploying to East Timor three times and to Afghanistan. It was while on operations in Afghanistan with the NZSAS in 2003 that he drove over a land mine, destroying the vehicle and sustaining serious injuries. The accident resulted in lower amputation to his left leg and the start of a long road of physical and psychological rehabilitation.
“Rehabilitation wasn’t easy. I was very withdrawn after my injury. It took me eight years to come to terms with what had happened to me,” says Jason Pore.
“Nothing scares me now because I feel normal, but it took me a very long time to feel this way.”
The Invictus Games, the rehabilitation through adaptive sports programme with Prince Harry as its active patron, has played a large role in Jason’s life in recent years. He was Vice-Captain of the NZDF Invictus Team at Orlando in 2016 and was recently named Captain of the NZDF Invictus Team ahead of its third international Invictus Games in Toronto, this September.
“Representing the NZDF, as well as representing both the veterans and the families of the wounded, is humbling and deeply meaningful to me,” Jason recently said at the time of his appointment.
And now Jason Pore is patron of the oldest RSA in the country and one that continues to play a significant and innovative role in the veteran community, and not only in Auckland. Auckland RSA is, in fact, principal supporter of the NZDF Invictus Team, the NZDF Defence Blacks rugby team and the Fields of Remembrance (WW1 Centenary crosses).
“It came as a real surprise to me to be asked to be Patron,” says Jason Pore. “It’s a real honour and a way for me to support my fellow comrades and I’m looking forward to this new opportunity to do so.”
“We are delighted that Jason Pore has agreed to be our Patron with his outstanding record of service on behalf of our nation, his own extraordinary story of rehabilitation, and his proven leadership in the veteran community,” says Graham Gibson, Auckland RSA President.
Past patrons of the Auckland RSA have included late Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, a World War 2 veteran himself; businessman and philanthropist Sir Kenneth Myers; a number of Service chiefs, and most recently fashion designer Dame Trelise Cooper.
“We have been well served over the last century by our patrons and Jason, as a recent veteran, will connect with our young veterans as he’s walked the talk in terms of his tough journey from soldier to civilian,” says Graham Gibson, himself a Vietnam veteran.
For the Auckland RSA it is all about comradeship and making the connection with current serving men and women, and those recently out of the NZDF.
“Our new patron understands what comradeship is all about and that it’s key to supporting and strengthening our community,” says Graham.
And the role of Auckland RSA patron is no mere figurehead. In fact, this Thursday 20 April, Jason will be abseiling-off Sky Tower as the captain of the NZDF Veterans Team in the inaugural SKYCITY Auckland’s Tower De Force challenge.
SKYCITY Auckland’s Tower De Force challenge, on Thursday 20 April, will see six teams face a military skills course, stair climb, mock-emergency first aid scenario, 91 metre ladder climb up the Sky Tower mast and a 160m abseil to retrieve and return their flag to ground in the fastest time.
Teams of six from the Royal New Zealand Navy, New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Air Force, NZDF Veterans, St John and the SKYCITY rigging team will compete.
The challenge will raise funds for the Auckland RSA’s annual Poppy Day Appeal in support of New Zealand veterans, their families and dependents. As well as fundraising, the teams will be competing for the inaugural Tower De Force title and the honour of lighting the Sky Tower with the Poppy emblem later that night. The public are welcome to attend this exciting
Auckland RSA is delighted that this new event will showcase the spirit of comradeship in the heart of Auckland and is a continuation of the successful Poppy Partnership with SKYCITY Auckland.
“We thank SKYCITY Auckland and all the Teams taking part for supporting the Auckland RSA Poppy Appeal and we’re pretty sure that the experience of the NZDF Veterans Team will come out on top,” says Graham Gibson.
For new Auckland RSA patron Jason Pore, “The Tower De Force Challenge will take me out of my comfort zone, something I was familiar when in the services.”
“The opportunity to support our NZ Veterans.”
HOW TO SUPPORT THE AUCKLAND RSA POPPY APPEAL:
• Donate online http://www.aucklandrsa.org
• Txt POPPY to 2256 for a $3 donation
• Poppy Day Street Appeal is this Friday, 21 April
WHAT’S ON THIS POPPY APPEAL:
• Tower De Force Challenge, Thursday 20 April, 2.00pm – 5.00pm at Sky Tower and SKYCITY Plaza
• Sky Tower Poppy Projection from the evening of 20 April to Anzac Day 25 April
• Field of Remembrance (3,132 crosses) Auckland Doman till 28 April