Army saved the day

Victoria Cross recipient Mark Donaldson speaks to Lyndale students.

Dandenong North students heard from a Victoria Cross recipient that the army was his salvation.
Corporal Mark Donaldson spoke to Lyndale Secondary College’s Year 8 students, who study war in history class, on Friday 21 April to mark Anzac Day.
He was awarded Australia’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross (VC), in 2009.
In September 2008 in eastern Afghanistan, then-Trooper Donaldson exposed himself to enemy fire to protect injured troops and rescued an interpreter under heavy enemy fire.
Lyndale library manager Mary Koutras said Corporal Donaldson shared details from his book The Crossroad with students.
“Mark’s lifestyle could have easily led him further down a path of self-destructiveness and petty crime,” she said.
“Mark, however, took a different road: the army. It proved to be his salvation.”
Ms Koutras said he was a natural soldier, was awarded the Young Australian of the Year award in 2010, and remained a serving member of the elite Special Air Service Regiment (SAS).
She said Corporal Donaldson spoke about his life experiences in a very humorous and sensitive manner and had his audience spellbound.
At the end of the session, students asked him questions about his life.
Three received a signed copy of The Crossroad for asking the most poignant questions.
“Mark’s honest responses and heartfelt talk was so inspiring to everyone present in the audience, and we were so grateful that he gave up his time to talk to the Lyndale Secondary College community,” Ms Koutras said.