Lockheed Martin Corporation

Australia News Releases

Keith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group and Lockheed Martin Australia Partner to Support Veterans

SYDNEY, Australia, 10 May 2022 – the Keith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group and Lockheed Martin Australia proudly launched a three-year veterans’ sponsorship to support the health and wellbeing of current and former Australian servicemen and servicewomen, and their families within the Shoalhaven region. 

Formed in 2018, the Keith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group, is dedicated to delivering a range of initiatives that assist veterans and their families to re-establish social connections within the community to reduce the impact of mental health issues. 

A joint sponsorship has been established with a $30,000 endowment by Lockheed Martin Australia, providing $10,000 grants over three years, to help support and sustain vital social inclusion, health and fitness activities for veterans.

Rick Meehan OAM, Chairman Keith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group welcomed the sponsorship contribution from Lockheed Martin Australia. 

“Based in Nowra, a Defence town since 1915, our primary goal is to reach as many veterans as possible.” He said, “We organise social activities from BBQs, breakfasts, exercise, dinners and more to ensure our veterans remain connected, which helps improve veterans’ wellbeing and recovery from issues such as post-traumatic stress and depression.”

“The Keith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group leads a twice weekly Walk to Talk program, Veterans Health Week, Veterans Lawn Bowls, Vitamins 4 Veterans and the Veterans Surf Project, that sees veterans and families enjoy the Shoalhaven’s beaches while learning how to surf free of charge. The Group is partnering with the University of Western Sydney to study the clinical benefits of surfing on veterans’ mind, body and spirit with a vision to nationalise the program.”

“Over the last 12 months of our surf program alone, we committed ourselves with the goal of 560 attendances but have reached over 1556 (including 240 family members). We have delivered over 135 sessions and had 119 new veterans sign up to the program. A number of those veterans have turned their lives around and have bounced back from severe depression.”

“The core of our programs concentrate on social connectedness, health, fitness, nature and are family based to unite our veterans and expand camaraderie. Many of our Veterans who come to us now say “before this program I was existing, now I'm living”. Lockheed Martin Australia’s sponsorship is greatly welcomed. It will enable our Group to sustain and increase our programs to continue serving those who have served our country,” Mr. Meehan said. 

Further he said, “Our programs are expanding weekly due to the ever changing and new initiatives that we come up with. This has without a doubt increased the number of families that we support as we proudly acknowledge our own name as a group but more importantly that we carry on the legacy of Australia's highest and most decorated veteran Keith Payne VC AM.”

Lockheed Martin Australia Chief Executive Warren McDonald said, “We are honoured to support the Keith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group. Ex-Australian Defence Force personnel make up a large part of our Sikorsky Australian workforce in Nowra and we can see the direct impact these programs have on the health of the local veteran and ex-service community and their families.”

About Keith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group 

Commenced in 2018, the Keith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group is a fully formed Association and Ex-Service Organisation and a registered charity under the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission.

Based in Nowra NSW, the home of two Naval bases, HMAS Creswell and HMAS Albatross, which also incorporates the Australian Defence Force Parachuting School. The Group’s membership has rapidly grown in the short time since establishment. The Group’s youngest members are in the early forty age bracket with the eldest member aged ninety-two. Members come from all three services with an extensive amount of military experience.

Keith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group Contact 

Rick Meehan OAM, Chairman, +61 428 443 361

About Lockheed Martin Australia

Headquartered in Canberra, Lockheed Martin Australia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation. The company employs more than 1,200 people in Australia working on a wide range of major programs spanning the aerospace, defence and civil sectors.

For additional information, visit our website: www.lockheedmartin.com.au

Media Contact:

Stacey Ward, +61 439 369 305; stacey.l.ward@lmco.com