Raise a Glass to support Legacy

AS A young man growing up on the Plateau, a future war hero relied on the generosity and support of Legacy to help him through childhood.

Now he is the organisation’s face of hope.

Decorated trooper Mark Donaldson is the ambassador of a major fundraiser to assist the widows and children of Aussie soldiers.

The VB Raise a Glass Appeal aims to raise $1.5 million for Legacy and the RSL this Anzac Day.

In 1995, following the death of his father, Greg, a Vietnam veteran, Mark and his brother Brent became wards of Legacy.

One of their mentors, Dorrigo RSL sub-branch secretary Bob Denner – who served in the same unit as their father – has since helped guide the Donaldson boys through life.

“Legacy was there for us in our hour of need,” Corporal Donaldson said. “Having a young wife and daughter, I, like all my mates who proudly serve Australia, are comforted to know that should something happen, Legacy is there for us no matter what,” he said.

The Raise a Glass Appeal Anzac Day initiative has seen $2.4 million donated to Legacy and RSL over two years.

On a break from active duty, Corporal Donaldson found himself drafted in to make the television ad, which was launched across the country last night.

In the advertisement he shares time with friends around a barbecue as they talk about mateship and the importance of supporting the families of the fallen.

Corporal Donaldson was awarded his VC after his unit was ambushed by Taliban fighters in Afghanistan in 2008.

The SAS soldier drew enemy fire towards himself and away from a group of wounded soldiers.

He then rescued an Afghan interpreter, dashing 80 metres over open ground and under fire with the injured man on his shoulder.

The advertisement began a day after Sarbi, a bomb-sniffing dog, was awarded the RSPCA’s highest honour – the Purple Cross – for action in the same military operation in which Corporal Donaldson was involved.

The dog was separated from its handler and survived 13 months in enemy territory before it was found by US Special Forces.

Corporal Donaldson, who is again on active duty, said he wanted all Australians to get behind the charity.

“The VB Raise a Glass Appeal is one of the single biggest public contributions to veteran’s welfare in Australia.

“So please dig deep and show your support.”

Craig MacLean, the group marketing manager for VB, said the VC winner had an important story to tell.

“(He is) the son of a veteran, his family were beneficiaries of Legacy, so he understands first-hand the support they can offer and the value of the Raise a Glass Appeal,” he said.

“We believe that by telling his story through the commercials, he will help the appeal connect and engage with a younger generation of Australians, raising funds for other families in need of the support of the RSL and Legacy,” he said.

To donate go to www.raiseaglass.com.au or find a collection barrel at a licensed venue and “Raise a glass to the fallen on Anzac Day”.

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