Participating Police Force Commander Denis McDermott embarked on a goodwill visit to Munda over Christmas with the Permanent Secretary of Police, National Security and Prison Services Mr George Hiele.

Other PPF members accompanying Mr Hiele and the Commander included PPF Advisor Bill McGeachie and Welfare Officer Lynda Atherton.

Commander McDermott said the group visited Munda Hospital where he and Mr Hiele met with James Pada, the Director for Nursing, Helena Goldie Hospital. Mr. Pada, one of the most senior nurses at Helena Goldie Hospital, had the opportunity to discuss the health issues faced by local communities with the visiting team.

Mr. Pada led a tour of the neonates and children's ward and the PPF group gave Christmas gifts of toys to the sick and newborn children, and their families.

"Mr. Pada was obviously touched by our efforts to visit his hospital and expressed his heartfelt appreciation," Commander McDermott said.

The group then visited the Munda Police post where Mr Hiele and the Commander met PPF Advisors Stewart Speedie and Paul Harris and their RSIP colleagues, personally thanking them for their good policing work during the year.

The PPF team then flew to Gizo where they were met by Advisors Dwayne Kalbus and Albert Tasmania and Acting Provincial Police Commander Hilton Hoala.

Commander McDermott thanked all local police on behalf of the RSIP Executive for their work in 2008, encouraging them to continue to perform positively in the future.

At Gizo Hospital, the nursing staff accompanied the Commander around the ward where the PPF group gave bears, toys and lollies to sick children and their families.

The bears and toys were donated as a result of fund-raising by retired Australian Federal Police members in Canberra and former AFP Chaplain, Roger O'Donnell.

Commander McDermott said he was grateful for the opportunity to visit both Munda and Gizo during Christmas to share some good cheer in local villages.

"These visits to outer islands are a small gesture on our part. However, it is vital that police officers and health workers doing such important work in remote communities continue to be recognised and supported," he said.

Source: RAMSI Media