Robbie Deans has written an inspirational message to the Volunteer Army;
To the Student Army,
One of the best pieces of encouragement I have been able to impart to sportsmen such as Andrew Mehrtens, Richie McCaw, Daniel Carter and more latterly to the likes of David Pocock and James O’Connor; is to strive to be the player that everyone else in the team can rely on, the individual everyone wants to play alongside.
To achieve that status in the sporting sphere requires dedication, a willingness to go beyond what is expected and, most importantly, a consideration of, and commitment to, your team-mates.
While the words ‘hero’ and ‘champion’ are used too freely in modern day society, without many of the users really boasting a proper appreciation as to the qualities required for such status; the players mentioned above; either have or are, in my judgement, well on the way to attaining that recognition.
The same qualities required to achieve this distinction in sport also hold true for life in general.
This is particularly so in time of crisis, which is why my admiration for you all is so strong.
Your tireless and totally selfless efforts since the calamity which struck Christchurch so suddenly on Tuesday February 22 have been an outstanding example, both to the rest of the country and the watching world.
It reflects magnificently on the people you represent: your families and the wider Christchurch and Canterbury community.
Most importantly, it reflects on you as individuals.
Be proud of your efforts, of the contribution you have made, and the support you have provided to the wider community at a time of great hardship.
As tragic as this last period has been, I’ve no doubt that the experiences you have had since the earthquake struck, the friendships you have made and the comfort you have offered, more often than not to strangers, will live with you forever.
As I have often said to the players I mentioned above, after a starring on-field performance, so I say to you all now – in a time of great challenge, you have, and continue to be, a key point of difference.
Keep up the good work and I hope to get an opportunity to work alongside you soon.
These young people and their recruits are doing a wonderful job.
Friends who joined the Farmy Army also tell me that while the farmers had the brawn and machines the students rang rings round them when it came to technology. The VA made much better use of computers to recruit helpers and co-ordinate activities and supplies.