Major Penni Roden

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Senior Representative, Major Penni Roden

Penni Roden

3rd Combat Engineers Regiment Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Ken Golder presents Red Shield Defence Services senior representative Major Penni Roden with her Australian Defence Force 15-year service medals at Lavarack Barracks in Townsville.

I've been a Salvation Army officer since December 2000. My first two appointments were as Corps Officer (Atherton, FNQ and Calamvale, SEQ). 

I became an RSDS rep in 2006. 2 of my children are RSDS babies 🙂 

I have had several appointments at: RSDS Gallipoli Barracks (6RAR and Family Support Officer) 2006-2010; RMC/ADFA (2011-2013); Lavarack Barracks 2014-present, (having supported 2RAR, SRC, 3CER, 4 REG, Geckos and as family support officer).

I've worked on Operation Flood Assist in Townsville, 2019. Survived 2 deployments as the spouse at home, though, including one of my pregnancies. Nigel was deployed to Timor Leste in 2006. I was 14 weeks pregnant and parenting a toddler when he departed. Although I was expecting to give birth before he returned, he was home in time for Eli to be born (on the anniversary of the bombing of Darwin). 

I love my RSDS ministry. Highights are hard to choose, although I'm always keen for baby cuddles. I have lifetime relationships with some of the most amazing people. God has given even more to me through my ministry than I have given, and the people are a huge part of that. 
Connecting with families is definitely a highlight - families do it tough, especially during deployment or extended absence, and blessing people with practical demonstrations of love really rings my bells. 
I love field work as well. There's nothing like getting out onto the range, in the dust and heat, to make you feel alive.
I've been able to announce pregnancies (to a couple of prospective Dads on field work), pass on love letters, engineer a proposal (through a personal flower delivery on Valentine's Day), dedicate babies and children, and even perform a few marriages. 
My first few weeks on the job, I had my toddler in tow, because his daycare mum was unexpectedly diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I hadn't had time to organise an alternative. I was always worried about him running through the building, getting underfoot, or going somewhere he shouldn't go. The company clerk eventually pulled me aside, and I felt very nervous about being in trouble. But instead, he sat me down and gave me a firm talking to. He said something like, "You need to understand something about us, if you're going to last in this job. We are a family. We have your back, just like you have ours. Your family is our family, and we understand that you need to bring your son to the office. We'll keep watch over him. We won't let him get hurt, or lost, or wander off. We are your brothers." 
That conversation has been the foundation of my ministry. We are family. And that's how I love my people. They are my family. 
I'm still in touch with that clerk. His son and mine both recently turned 18. And I was as proud of his son as I am of my own. We're family. 

You can contact me on 0434 751 064 or