Forging great memories, satisfaction from helping people in need and family ties to the military, are among the many reasons the volunteers for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 presented by Jaguar Land Rover chose to be involved.
People from diverse walks of life comprise the more than 1000 volunteers who will play an integral role in delivering the fourth edition of the Invictus Games, which starts on Saturday 20 October and will feature approximately 500 competitors from 18 nations, 1000 family and friends, 800 media and around 75,000 spectators.
Among those who are investing their time is Amar Singh, a transport company operator, who said he was proud “to be able to give back”.
“It’s all about learning new skills and meeting new people. And, it’s about giving back to society,” he said.
“If you look at the background of the Invictus Games, the men and women who are taking part gave their everything. So, for us to give a bit of our time is pretty much nothing. I think everyone should do things like this more often.”
The Invictus Games are not about sport at the elite level, but about using the power of sport to inspire and support recovery from life-changing injury.
Singh’s first experience in volunteering was at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, not long after he arrived in Australia.
“I was a recent migrant back then, only two years in the country, I put my hand up and it’s something I still can’t forget. It was an amazing experience.
“Whenever I’m out at Olympic Park the memories come back of the great times and the people I met. I think the Invictus Games will create that kind of history as well. There are people here volunteering from all ages, all kinds of people. I think that’s what being Australian is all about.”
Another Sydney 2000 volunteer, Christine Patton, will be working in accreditation at Invictus Games Sydney 2018 alongside her medical alert dog, Angel.
“I’m disabled to a certain extent and I thought it would be good to see that people could do jobs like this,” said Patton. “It should be interesting because I think I’ll meet some very interesting people.”
Penny Huang, from northern Sydney, said she was excited when she heard the Invictus Games “was going to be on our doorstep in Sydney.”
“I have a strong family connection to the Armed Forces, with my husband being in the Navy and my brother and his children, and my father,” she said.
“I also had a mental illness that I’ve recovered from in 2013. I just wanted to take part.” Huang said volunteering put her “in a happy place”.
“I just feel so happy knowing I’m doing some little thing just to help out in the community. It’s inspired me to want to do more volunteering in the future,” she said.
The Invictus Games Sydney 2018 volunteers gathered late last month for their first chance to meet other volunteers and begin learning about the crucial tasks they will be asked to perform. Australian team-member for Invictus Games 2018, Vanessa Broughill, was thrilled to meet several volunteers at the launch.
“I’ve met some amazing people here today,” said Broughill. “Some of these volunteers are not only doing a great job by volunteering for the Invictus Games but they do some amazing volunteer work in their day to day life, and that’s phenomenal to see.”
Invictus Games Sydney 2018 CEO Patrick Kidd OBE expressed his gratitude.
“We are very grateful that so many people, both in Australia and from overseas, registered their interest to volunteer for Invictus Games Sydney 2018,” said Kidd.
“Delivering the Invictus Games would not be possible without their support and whenever you see one of these vibrant uniforms, you can be sure there is a friendly volunteer ready to assist you.”
Adrian Talbot’s moving words to Invictus Games Sydney 2018 volunteers
At a volunteer engagement evening, Adrian Talbot, who competed at the 2014 London Invictus Games after undergoing multiple major surgeries to treat an injury as a result of active service, spoke to the people who will make Invictus Games Sydney 2018 possible.
Talbot’s moving words reinforced the value of the volunteers’ contribution.
“Many of the athletes you will see competing would have been told throughout their recovery journeys by medical professionals what they won’t be able to do with their bodies and lives. I was told I wouldn’t ever be able to walk long distances or compete in sporting activities,” said Talbot.
“Friends I served with who have lost limbs and suffered horrific injuries which have affected every facet of their lives, will be competing in this year’s Invictus Games. You will be able to see first-hand their abilities, not their disabilities. You will bear witness to the impossible.
“Each athlete and their families have stories of overcoming adversity. The resilience and devotion to recovery of these people will be showcased at the Invictus Games.
“Parts of my story I just shared with you were about feeling alone in a world full of people. Invictus [Games] provided me and my wife with the opportunity to connect, cry, laugh and share our journeys with veterans and their families from nations around the world. The relationships I made during the Games are long-lasting and forged in the understanding that you are no longer alone.
“Thank you all for taking part in this year’s Sydney Invictus Games. Truly, without the smiling faces and dedication of the volunteers, this event would not be possible. Welcome to the family.”
Invictus Games Sydney 2018