The Honour Rolls at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra record the names of over 102,000 Australians who have lost their lives serving this country in the two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and other theatres of conflict. Many more Australians have been wounded or otherwise afflicted for the rest of their lives as a result of their military service.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to those who fought to preserve the freedoms and lifestyle that we enjoy today in Australia. We are also indebted to current serving Australian Defence Force personnel and the sacrifices they make to maintain the security of our country and its interests. Australia currently has military personnel deployed overseas in the Middle East, South Sudan, Egypt, the south west Pacific, south east Asia and elsewhere.
And our gratitude must also extend to the families of those serving members — the wives, husbands, children and extended families who remain behind in Australia, hoping that their loved ones stay safe during their ‘tour of duty’. The sacrifices these families are required to make are no less significant than those of the person serving overseas and their support should never be overlooked.
There has been a growing consciousness in recent years of our need to recognise those who serve our country. Now there’s a way that businesses can say ‘thank you’ to those who serve, and ‘thank you’ to the families that support serving personnel.
APOD — an acronym for ‘Australian Partners of Defence’ — is a reward and recognition program that enables businesses to provide exclusive offers to Australian Defence Force personnel, reservists, allied forces, veterans and their immediate family members. It’s easy for businesses to participate and there is no charge to provide an offer. Participating in the program also brings benefits for the business because offers are promoted to a large (and growing) community of military families around Australia — and it’s entirely free for businesses to participate.
APOD was founded in 2012 by military spouse, Rebecca (Bec) Waller, who recognised the need to give something back to military personnel and their families. A passionate advocate of Defence veterans, Bec built and self-funded the APOD business for seven years until it secured Federal Government funding and became an official partner of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in 2019. Tragically, Bec Waller passed away from leukaemia in 2021 at the age of 37. Her partner, Paul Broadbridge, continues her legacy as CEO.
Bec’s passion lives on in the continued growth and success of APOD. The APOD member community has grown to over 122,000 (there is potential for 1.2 — 1.5 million, the estimated size of the military/veteran community across Australia), with around 2,500 new members joining every month. There are approximately 10,000 members of APOD just in South Australia.
Luke Read is the local National APOD Partnerships Manager and he explained to me how APOD works.
‘Over 2,700 businesses have signed up with an offer and there are 500 veteran-owned businesses among that number. We’ve got some of Australia’s best known brands on board: Nissan, R.M. Williams, JB Hi-Fi, Betty’s Burgers, AMPOL and even Harley Davidson.’
‘But it’s certainly not just confined to big businesses, there are plenty of small, local businesses that have signed up too — here in Adelaide, we’ve got 320 businesses registered including Barossa Fine Foods, Sportspower, Manhattan Dry Cleaners, Treeclimb, Jarvis Cars and Wallis Cinemas — not to mention the many restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes that we have listed’.
All of the business offers available to members can be found in the extensive offer directory on the APOD website at https://apod.com.au/.
‘All of the offers are listed there and you can search locally to find offers close to you. Businesses that want to sign up can do so easily on the site via the ‘For Business’ button — there’s absolutely zero risk, it’s entirely free and we can get the offers up really quickly.’
Businesses are also supported to promote their affiliation with APOD.
‘Once you’re signed up, we send out stickers and in-store collateral that you can use at your premises to promote your partnership with APOD and your support of the veteran community’.
APOD is a South Australian success story and being a part of it is a great option for businesses — not only will you be supporting veterans, serving personnel and their families, you’ll also have the opportunity to attract more custom for your business.
For more information, visit the Business section on the APOD website at https://apod.com.au/about/business-partners/
Interested businesses can also get in contact with Luke Read directly at luke.[email protected]apod.com.au
The author is a veteran and an APOD member.