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Eldercare chaplain honoured with Australian Defence Medal

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015

Eldercare Evanston Park Chaplain Rev. Kim Thoday has been awarded an Australian Defence Medal in recognition of his service to the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Geoffrey Brown AO presented Rev. Thoday with his medal during a special ceremony at Adelaide’s Edinburgh Air Base in June.

Rev. Thoday has served as an ADF Chaplain for the past five years and is currently based at Edinburgh one day a week.

“I am part of a team of chaplains who provide support to base executive and staff which allows me to continue with my other chaplaincy work with Eldercare and SAPOL,” Rev. Thoday said.

“There are many different aspects to my work with the ADF including spiritual and religious support, ethical and moral guidance, crisis intervention and referral, housing and financial support, liaison with ADF health professionals, special memorials and funerals.”

Rev. Thoday said Eldercare’s Chaplaincy Services Manager Rev. Mark Butler inspired him to join the ADF.

“I heard about Mark’s adventures as an ADF chaplain several years ago and I asked if I might survive in such an environment and, with Mark’s encouragement, I applied and was accepted,” Rev. Thoday said.

The Australian Defence Medal was introduced to the Australian Honours System in 2006 and Rev. Thoday said it holds significant personal meaning.

“It reminds me of my humanitarian role in support of those who place their lives at risk to serve and protect.”

Rev. Thoday believes the type of support chaplains provide into the future will need to expand to reflect Australia’s changing society.

“In my view, spiritual and pastoral carers should be required to demonstrate an ongoing integration of rigorous theological training and specialist counselling skills in areas like grief, trauma and dementia.

“Furthermore, the current discourse around chaplaincy needs to change to reflect the movement towards the holistic care of individuals in our increasingly multi-cultural, multi-faith, liberal-secular society.”

Image: (L - R) Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Geoffrey Brown AO presents Australian Air Force Chaplain Flight Lieutenant Kim Thoday with his Australian Defence Medal. Courtesy Royal Australian Air Force.