Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley will visit his home town of Wollongong this morning to help the Flagstaff Group recognise many of its employees with disabilities.
General Hurley grew up in Warrawong and still has family living in the city, including his sister Denise, who encouraged him to find time in his schedule to visit Flagstaff today for the important mission.
He will present certificates of participation to some of Flagstaff's employees who have been completing a Certificate II in food handling, process manufacturing and laundry operations.
Flagstaff chief executive Roy Rogers said it was an incredible opportunity for a social enterprise concerned with providing employment and career development to Illawarra people living with a disability.
"This is an initiative of Flagstaff to provide recognised qualifications for people with a disability to improve their vocational skills and develop a work ethic to better prepare them for a mainstream work environment," Mr Rogers said.
Employees in food processing to be recognised by General Hurley today are Evan Wooley, Marshall Ring, Malcolm Grant, Scott Matthews, David Jackson, Andrew Dewhirst and Nathan Collins.
Those in process manufacturing are Graham Weekes, Tim Frigo, James Graves, Amanda Seccombe, Tegan Robertson, Nick Boyd, Matt Watt, Barry Bradbury, Melissa Armistead, David Stevens and Peter Court.
General Hurley's last visit to the city was as guest speaker at The Illawarra Connection, where he spoke about leadership and how growing up in Warrawong had helped prepare him for a four-decade-long military career that took him to many parts of the world.
He said there were two important aspects of Wollongong that had had an impact on him; the multicultural society he grew up in and the great education he had received there.
"I was taught well and I had a very supportive community behind me," he said.
"What I remember most is growing up without any concerns or cares."
General Hurley said Wollongong was still the same warm, friendly multicultural society he grew up in.
And that had probably helped him be so approachable and relate to people wherever he was in the world.