27 March 2019
The New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) recent outreach programme in Hawke’s Bay gave Staff Sergeant Jonathan Pritchard a chance to share his skills with children in his home town.
During the outreach, which was called Exercise Wisdom Tooth and was conducted from 11-22 March, the NZDF teamed up with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board to provide oral health care information, dental care and treatment.
The combined team of military and civilian personnel also ran sessions at schools to highlight the importance of good oral health and healthy lifestyle choices, and provide defence career information.
Staff Sergeant Pritchard, a physical training instructor who was born and raised in Hastings, ran fitness challenges along with his colleague Corporal Elenoa Lilo at a number of schools as part of the exercise.
“I was super excited to be working for the first time with Hawke’s Bay kids,” said Staff Sergeant Pritchard, who helps manage the gymnasium at Burnham Military Camp near Christchurch.
“One of the schools we visited was my former high school, Hastings Boys’ High School, and I really looked forward to it. Being able to give something back to my home town is undoubtedly a highlight.”
Staff Sergeant Pritchard also got to spend time with his parents at the end of the exercise.
Together with a cousin, Staff Sergeant Pritchard enlisted in the New Zealand Army after graduating from high school in 1998. He deployed on operations in Timor-Leste and Bosnia and took part in international exercises in Australia and Singapore.
He started as a gunner at 161 Battery and trained to become a physical training instructor in 2004.
“I have had varied opportunities in my Army career and I am looking forward to more interesting opportunities in the future.”