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Easing the pain of posting cycles

Chaplain Josh Bouzanquet will never forget looking into the rear-view mirror and seeing his weeping daughter in the backseat.

Beyond her, through the rear glass, was their daughter’s neighbour and best friend running after their car, crying as their family drove away from Holsworthy during another Army posting cycle.

It was devastating for her to be uprooted from everything she knew.

This came after being asked to move across the country with just four weeks’ notice.

“She is in grade three now and on her third school,” Chaplain Bouzanquet said.

“She spends the first six months of each posting grieving the loss of her friends while trying to make new ones.”

Recognising that their situation is far from unique, as a chaplain, Major Bouzanquet is expected to care for other soldiers, but he knows that Defence Member and Family Support (DMFS) is there to help.

Whether it’s in Darwin, Adelaide, Sydney, Perth or Canberra, the former medic has been willing to serve the Army’s people wherever they are. The reality is that his family is inevitably serving their nation as well.

After five interstate moves in eight years, Chaplain Bouzanquet and his wife Sybille rely on DMFS events to settle into new locations.

With all the short-notice postings, Sybille said base community centres were her first point of call.

“As soon as we get to new locations, we look at what events are happening to join other local Defence community groups,” she said.

“We get support from other families with similar experiences. It wouldn’t be possible without events and support programs provided by DMFS.”

DMFS provides numerous programs and support to help with everything from finding a new childcare centre to arranging before- and after-school care and offering financial support for tutoring. In addition, they can assist families manage time apart through building resilience and fostering community connections.

Throughout the year, DMFS runs free events, such as zoo days and coffee catch-ups.

Recently, Chaplain Bouzanquet and his wife attended a National Families Week DMFS event in Canberra, where they were able to rekindle old friendships from previous postings.

The event brought families together to celebrate the defence community, including the awarding of Child of the ADF Medallions. The special medallion is awarded to children growing up in the ADF environment who have surmounted times of uncertainty and change.

Chaplain Bouzanquet said family were the backbone of Defence members and this significant recognition of their contribution made them feel included.

“It recognises it’s not just those in uniform, but their loved ones who also feel the pressures of service life,” he said.

“It’s a small gesture but I think it’s important they are recognised as a part of Defence life as well.”

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