NATION

Yasa Aid Reunites Mom And Navy Son

34-year-old Fijian-Australian sailor is part of more than 600 ADF personnel deployed on the HMAS Adelaide to conduct Tropical Cyclone Yasa relief works in Vanua Levu.
09 Jan 2021 10:10
Yasa Aid Reunites Mom And Navy Son
Almost a year apart, Petty officer Lee Addison of the Australian Defence Force finally met his mother, Georgina at Suva’s King’s Wharf on January 8, 2020. Photo: Leon Lord

It was an emotional reunion for Petty Officer Lee Addison of the Australian Defence Force and his mother Georgina Addison in Suva yesterday.

The 34-year-old Fijian-Australian sailor is part of more than 600 ADF personnel deployed on the HMAS Adelaide to conduct Tropical Cyclone Yasa relief works in Vanua Levu.

After almost a year apart, his mother Mrs Addison, who resides in Suva, could not wait to see her son at the Kings Wharf.

The HMAS Adelaide arrived in Suva yesterday morning to load supplies to be shipped to the North on the same day.

HMAS Adelaide at the Kings wharf in Suva on January 8, 2021 Photo: Leon Lord

HMAS Adelaide at the Kings wharf in Suva on January 8, 2021 Photo: Leon Lord

Petty Officer Lee usually flies over to Fiji every year to see his mother, however, he could not make the trip last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“She got to the wharf early in the morning and I could see her waving as the ship came in,” he said.

“It was an emotional reunion with mum. I was holding back my tears. It’s so good to see that she is well.”

“Because of COVID-19 I don’t think we can catch up but it was good enough to say hello and see how she is doing.”

Petty Officer Lee, whose father is Australian, was born in Suva and grew up in Lami.

He has links to Savusavu.

“Fiji holds a special place in my heart and coming back to work alongside the Republic of Fiji Navy and ADF members is an honour, to come back and help Fijians in their time of need,” he said.

Petty Officer Lee has been in the Australian Navy for 16-years.

He is among the five Fijian-Australian personnel on board the HMAS Adelaide.

The other personnel are Leading Seaman Michelle Vocea, Able Seaman Douglas Miller, Lieutenant Commander Roneel Chandra and Able Seaman Marine Technician Koloba Vuniwaqa.

Vocea

Brisbane-born Ms Vocea, 28, who hails from Nasinu Village in Cakaudrove, lived in Tamavua, Suva with her family until she was nine-years-old before they moved back to Australia.

Every year Ms Vocea’s family spends Christmas in Fiji but given the circumstances with COVID-19, last year her family spent Christmas in Sydney while she spent Christmas on board the HMAS Adelaide with her work family.

She said she spoke to her Bubu (grandmother), who lives in Lami, over the phone yesterday morning while they were berthed out at the Suva harbour and although she could not be with her physically, she is grateful to be in Fiji.

“I always miss Fiji when I am not here so I am looking forward to coming back when COVID-19 is over,” Ms Vocea said.

Of her five years’ experience in the Navy, she said helping fellow Fijians in Vanua Levu was a reward that she would cherish throughout her career.

Lt Commander Chandra

Lt Commander Roneel Chandra said he was proud to be given the opportunity to return to Fiji after so long.

He was born in Suva and moved to Australia with his family when he was young.

“It’s really special to be back here in Fiji and being part of the reconstruction effort is very special to me.”

The crew will be in Fiji for a few weeks before they return to Australia.

Last night, HMAS Adelaide loaded 100 pallets of food supplies, tents and building materials which were shipped to the North.

Edited by Selita Bolanavanua

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj


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