Airman brings cheer to Timor
AMBERLEY airman Dave Woods is making the people of East Timor smile.
Wearing a Santa hat is only a small part of his contribution to their happiness.
As a RAAF member of the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) based in Dili Flight Lieutenant Woods’ job is to help the country’s emergency services and civic security forces.
“I’m the emergency services liaison officer, maintaining a relationship with firefighter and civic security,” he said.
“I’m one of the lucky ones, out and about in the community.
“They are some of the most giving and humble people that I’ve experienced.”
On Christmas Day, defence personnel held a lunch for Timorese orphans.
“We sponsor a number of orphanages here,” Flt Lt Woods said.
“We’ve got a Santa arranged and we’ll have lunch with them. We have what they call a low-tempo day.”
Flt Lt Woods has been in Dili since August on a six-month tour of duty.
He also did tours of the Middle East in 2003 and 2009.
The ISF in East Timor includes 470 personnel from the Australian and New Zealand defence forces.
Flt Lt Woods said focusing on family was how ADF members coped with Christmas.
“It’s the thought of your family and going home that gets you through it,” he said.
“The amount of support we’ve had, like care packages, has been absolutely wonderful.”
Dili is humid and dry, unlike Flt Lt Woods’ home in rain-soaked Springfield Lakes.
During the Christmas period, his fiancee Rachelle and four-year-old son Jaiden will be in his thoughts.
“I miss them very much,” he said.