Get inspired with James journey, meet the @Total Ability Team and check out our upcoming events..
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Keeping us inspired in this edition, James O'Connor shares his journey with us and his role supporting the veteran community at the Combined Defence Support Association.

James Terence OCONNOR ASM DFM PJM was born in United Kingdom (UK) and migrated to Australia 1950. James joined RAN 1957, served in permanent Navy and Reserves for 38 years. Along the way he joined Commonwealth Police, Australia Police, and finally Australian Federal Police. Navy involved Active Service Malaya (Malaysia) Borneo, South China Sea. Destroyer, Aircraft Carrier River Class Destroyer. Seven years Patrol Boats. Served as a Bomb Technician and Intelligence Officer in AFP. Special Agent FBI and USATF. Attached Royal Fiji Police. Desk Officer to Germany, Spain and Qatar as a Bomb Data Operative.
James & Emma
James was an early victim of war and survival. While he was a child on the knee, he and his mother were buried beneath a bomb shelter following the detonation of a German parachute mine. This incident, unfortunately saw the death of seven people in the same shelter. The small house in Liverpool was later destroyed in a bombing raid. As a result, they were evacuated to Wales. He was later strafed by two German fighters as he crossed a field with a little friend. A few nights later a German aircraft struck their cabin and crashed onto the road.

After these extremely challenging years, the family migrated to the safety of Australia, settling in NSW, and later Victoria. James was selected for a motor trade apprenticeship but elected to join the Navy. Initially selected for aircrew training he lost out when the government disarmed the Fleet Air Arm. He had an active career nonetheless. 

As a member of the RAN, he qualified as a Trainer on Sea Safety, Survival at Sea and general safety and survival subjects. Following his separation from the Navy, with Honours, he moved into the world of commerce and later qualified as a Safety Officer. His next step was with the Commonwealth Police (now the Australian Federal Police (AFP). A highlight being his deployment to Darwin assisting in the evacuation and search and rescue operations following Cyclone Tracy. Following the Hilton Bombing in Sydney, the AFP moved into Counter-Terrorist mode. Completing a Bomb Technician course, James was posted to the Australian Bomb Data Centre as an operational Bomb Technician and spent valuable time in the Research and Development of Bomb Detection and Disposal equipment. Much time was spent in safety training with officers from all parts of Australia, Fiji, PNG, and the USA.

Time spent at AFP Customs Coast watch, as aircrew, CIB and filling the role of Commonwealth Prosecutor.

As a Safety Officer with a high reputation, he was later recruited by Defence as part of the Defence Emergency Management Section. This saw him preparing Procedures and supervising the Bomb Safety Management in Canberra and Southern NSW for Defence Personnel.

James now gives his time to the Combined Defence Support Association, as an Advocate (Wellbeing). The base is within the Veteran Support Office at the RAAFA in Bull Creek and offers a comfortable and confidential surrounding. This is a group declaring Veterans Helping Veterans' and ensuring that no Veteran is left alone and helpless. This group can offer guidance, and assistance where available, to the family and other supporters in establishing claims involving Welfare and/or Compensation (pension, etc).

James has a Bachelor's Degree in Training and Development and Diploma in OHSE. He also has Open Arms recognition in Suicide Intervention.
Thank you to James for agreeing to share his journey.🙏

Veterans and Supporters wishing to make contact:

Telephone: 9311-4235

This month we chat with Paul Crake, Managing Director of @Total Ability to find out more about Paul and the Total Ability team...

1. Did Total Ability start in a garage? Total Ability started when I (Paul Crake) returned to Australia after living in Italy and having familiarity with the hand controls that were common place in Europe. At the time there was nothing available other than mechanical controls and I saw a need to introduce people to the current technology. The business was really started from a friends warehouse facility and evolved from there with many months spent on the road meeting with installers to familiarise them with the equipment from @Fadiel Italiana.

2. What is the biggest achievement of the team? The biggest achievement with the team at Total Ability is to have changed the hand control industry in Australia and educate the sector to the current technologies and to make the process of being assessed more streamlined. As part of this evolution, 10 years ago there were approximately 40 driving instructor assessment vehicles nationally, but now with the efforts from Total Ability that number has doubled which means people don’t have to travel so far to be assessed for driving in 2022.
3. How do you/the team start the day? (Coffee!☕) Every day offers new challenges and focuses, given the fact we work closely with Installers, Driving Instructors, Occupational Therapists, and end clients. If everything goes to plan, we start with a briefing and kick on from there.

4. What is the funniest work story? There are many funny stories with a team that is weighted in favour of women, especially as there is an assumption that girls don’t have the technical understanding of males. That has been proved wrong many a time and just recently one of our well known driving instructors, who I might add we are all very fond of, was having issues starting one of the vans. Annabelle asked if the brake pedal was being applied and the answer on the phone was a prompt “that would help!”.

5. Who is the best driver in the office? That is a difficult question, all the team are good drivers so I might get a hard time from the others but it might be myself given the ongoing input I have from driving instructors throughout Australia and my driving continues to improve. I will educate them to the use of the modifications and occasionally they will remind me of an improved driving technique. As the saying goes, you learn something new every day!
ATSA 2022 Dealer of the Year Award

👏Huge congratulations to @Wild West Wheelchairs for winning the ATSA 2022 Dealer of the Year Award.

Peter and Kylie have supported our @Solutions Centre since the very early stages and we are extremely happy to see them being recognized nationally for the incredible work they do.

Look how sharp Jack and Peter looked on the evening! 🤩#Congrats Wild West Wheelchairs!  

We once again raised a cuppa at the Solutions Centre to support those impacted by cancer. Every year Australia’s Biggest Morning Teas are hosted all over Australia and we were honoured to host again for the second year.💛💙

We thank everybody who attended our Solutions Centre Biggest Morning Tea and for contributing to our overall donation.  
Biggest Morning Tea
Amber Jones
Yale Unity Entrance Lock
Yale Unity Entrance Lock -  This futuristic door lock can be controllable by either the Yale Access App on your phone, key card or Yale Smart Keypad, providing you with a range of options to control your lock. The Yale Access App allows you to lock and unlock your door, grant access to others and keep track of visitor access, all via your smartphone. Grant users one time access, access for a set period of time or a date range, avoiding any lost keys or having your keys stolen or copied. This makes allowing access to your home for support staff so much easier, and keeps a record of when people have accessed your home.
DayLight Swan Table Lamp
DayLight Swan Table Lamp - The Daylight Swan Table Lamp is perfect for your up-close reading or fiddly projects. The lamp comes supplied with an 18W light tube and 1.75X magnifying lens, this lamp will provide you with everything you need to see your working area clearly. The long, flexible arm enables you to direct the fluorescent light to where you need. Lens can even be removed if it is not required.
Configura Comfort Recliner Chair - This recliner chair is designed to provide comfortable seating to users with mild to moderate postural requirements, to help reduce the formation of pressure ulcers and help to stand or sit users with limited mobility. This chair is very comfortable so you can rest assured that your posture and skin integrity is being supported.
Configura Comfort Recliner Chair
Tab Timer Automatic Pill Dispenser
Tab Timer Automatic Pill Dispenser - This Automatic Pill Dispenser has been designed to help people keep on top of their medication with timed access and alarms. This dispenser is especially suitable for people with Alzheimer's, Dementia, confusion or other dexterity complications. Set your personalised times and remove the worry that you may forget to take your medication. Most pharmacies can help with setting up and refilling your dispenser. .
Driving With Disability
26th July 2022, 1:30pm - 3pm / 3:30pm - 5pm

Driving is such an important goal for so many people and opens many opportunities for increased independence. 🚗

Whether you (or someone you know) love to drive or would love to drive. When driving with disability there are many elements that need to considered beforehand... From getting appropriate driving lessons and gaining a special driver's licence, to vehicle modifications, funding options and more.

For many people with disability, being able to drive safely is empowering and transformative. Some people even describe it as life-changing … others as lifesaving. So, we invite you to join us on this Ed. Session to understand all things Driving with Disability.

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