At the IQA Illawarra sub-branch?s dinner meeting in February, secretary Wayne Kelly announced he was to walk the Kokoda Trail from 11 April this year. Fellow branch member and friend Paul Mandeno has put up his hand to join him.
Kelly is a quarry pit supervisor for Hanson in New South Wales and has financial backing from Hanson in Australia to complete the walk.
Both Kelly and Mandeno have similar reasons for wanting to do what is considered a very difficult and dangerous trek.
?It was on my bucket list,? said Mandeno, who is Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia?s (HCA) national major account manager. ?I wanted to be part of it and I respect Legacy. My brother Geoff served in the SAS for 16 years and my uncle served in World War II, with active duty in PNG.?
When Kelly was asked why he had made this decision, he explained that his father had been an Australian serviceman. The day before his father was scheduled to leave for service in New Guinea, the Japanese launched the submarine attack on Sydney Harbour.
Wayne?s father?s division was then retained to protect Sydney. His father was very disappointed throughout his life that due to this and other circumstances, he was never able to go to New Guinea.
When his father suffered a terminal illness, Wayne promised he would go to Papua New Guinea on his dad?s behalf and walk the Kokoda Trail.
Fundraising for Legacy
To make the event more memorable, Kelly and Mandeno have launched the Hanson-Hitachi Challenge with the objective of raising $10,000 for Legacy. Legacy works for widows and descendants of Australian servicemen from all wars in which Australia has participated, and assists more than 100,000 widows and families of incapacitated and deceased veterans.
?We?ve raised $3000 so far,? said Mandeno. ?We have support from Bell Equipment, Hanson and John Deere, as well as Hitachi. Hitachi is matching dollar for dollar what any Hitachi employee is donating.
?This is a fantastic opportunity to raise money for a great cause not to mention assist Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia and Hanson?s commitment to their individual corporate social responsibility.?
HCA is also funding promotional collateral for the trip and for further promotions after the event.
To date, it has committed to donating half of Mandeno?s costs to complete the trek. Hanson will be making a donation on behalf of Kelly.
Now Kelly and Mandeno are seeking sponsors from the industry and an easy to use automated method of donating is available at the Legacy website.
Source: IQA Illawarra sub-branch. With thanks to Paul Mandeno, Wayne Kelly and Doug Prosser for their input.