Connection in Service
Darlene joined the Navy as a Steward in the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS). At the time, the WRANS wasn’t permitted to serve at sea.
When that changed, Darlene served on the HMAS Newcastle, and going to sea as part of that crew was a highlight of her Naval career.
Darlene’s connection to the Defence Force runs deeper than her own service; her husband and great-uncle are both veterans.
When she transitioned out of the Navy and moved to a small country town, Darlene found civilian life difficult without the support and comradery of her crew.
With her husband often away interstate for work, Darlene was raising her children and trying to find things to do.
“It was hard not being in that team environment anymore,” Darlene says.
“I’d gone from a wonderful team environment to being by myself and fending for myself. I had many challenges; it was isolating.”
Over time, Darlene lost self-confidence, and was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
And then she found off-road racing.