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MX News Update 2024


Lifeline Canberra announces Daniel Keighran VC as its new patron

After three years without a shepherd, Lifeline Canberra has announced its new patron, Daniel Keighran VC. By signing up indefinitely, Mr Keighran will help spread the message of a more resilient suicide-free community and provide support to the community through Lifeline Canberra.

Mr Keighran was born and raised in Queensland and grew up in regional Lowmead. After completing high school, he enlisted in the Australian Army in 2000. He completed recruit and infantry training before he turned 18.e birthday and was posted as a gunner to 6RAR, based at Enoggera in Brisbane.

Between 2001 and 2009, Mr Keighran deployed to Malaysia, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan and was promoted to corporal. It was during his deployment in Operation Slipper in Afghanistan that his courage and selflessness would earn him the highest honor in the Australian Honors and Award System, the Victoria Cross for Australia.

On August 24, 2010, Mr Keighran’s patrol came under fire from an outnumbered insurgent force and with a friendly casualty, Mr Keighran acted quickly and decisively to turn the tide of the battle. By keeping enemy fire away from the patrol dealing with the casualty, Mr Keighran risked his own life for those around him, earning the VC and citing ‘For the most conspicuous acts of gallantry and extreme devotion to duty in action in circumstances of great danger’.

After completing his full-time service, Mr Keighran moved into the private sector and held a number of positions. He also remains a reservist with the Australian Army. He spends his time juggling his passions: work, family and donating time to numerous non-profit organizations that support current and former members of the Australian Defense Force who have physical or psychological wounds, injuries or illness as a result of their service.

Mr Keighran, who has largely stayed out of the spotlight in the decade since he was awarded the Victoria Cross, says he will work for a good cause.

“I see my role mainly as awareness. It costs $26 to answer a life saving phone call, I think I spend more than that on coffee in a week. For me it’s the awareness campaign. It is estimated that 10 per cent of Canberrans use the service each year, which is a significant number of people who unfortunately need some help,” Mr Keighran said.

Mr Keighran, who still lives in Queensland, first heard of the incredible work Lifeline Canberra does through its first and last patron, Dr. Brendan Nelson AO, when they were both on the board of the Australian War Memorial. Dr. Nelson praised the work of the organization and its CEO Carrie Leeson; this sentiment was echoed by Mr Keighran’s close friend Richard Rolfe.

“I didn’t make the connection at the time when Brendan and Richard were talking about Carrie, fast forward a few years and we finally meet… Since we met I have been to the Lifeline Gala Ball and have a good insight into what Lifeline crisis support centers do.

“Through Richard and Brendan, two people I greatly respect and admire the work they do. I think I sold it before I met Carrie and the work they were doing. Those connections let me know that this was something I wanted to be a part of.

Queensland remains home to Mr Keighran and his family, his son is at his school and they do not want to disrupt that. Never say never, Mr Keighran says they may one day make the move. For now, he visits Canberra so regularly that supporting our local lifeline will be no problem.

Lifeline’s mission to prevent suicide will only be possible with the continued support of the community, Mr Keighran explains, and that is something he wants to be a part of.

“My grandfather was a World War II veteran, he was my hero, my father figure growing up and he had a strong set of core values ​​and personal ethos that he instilled in me. He said to me, “If you are fortunate enough to help others, then you should do it.” I think there is no greater purpose in life,” says Mr Keighran.

Daniel Keighran VC, Patron and Carrie Leeson, CEO of Lifeline Canberra. Image supplied.

Having been without a patron in recent years, Ms Leeson says it was important they got it right and found the person best suited for the role.

“We look at the individual, everything Dan has achieved, his VC, but other than that he is an incredible person. We look for alignment of values, it is a practice-oriented role, we are an ambitious organization, we go beyond our boundaries,” she says.

Together they are excited about where they will take the relationship and what they can achieve for the Canberra region. A patron is the face of the organization, the storyteller, Ms Leeson explains, and the story Mr Keighran can tell is incredibly powerful.

“Dan brings a very unique set of skills, a very unique story and very unique connections… We are coming to Lifeline after unfortunately a record number of calls, we have never had more than 3,700 calls. time, and we hacked 4,200 calls last week as a result of what our country is going through. It couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Ms Leeson.

The patronage comes at a time when Mr Keighran was assessing his commitments and ensuring he prioritized his family, Ms Leeson said. His immediate involvement shows a lot about his character, she says, and gives hope for the number of people they can help together.

“Without hesitation at a time when Dan was trying to make cuts, he absolutely said, what do you need? He has already visited, had morning tea and breakfast with the team. He has proven and demonstrated who he is: he is very practical, authentic, dedicated and committed to helping people.”

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