Sgt Gary Dunning and Joanne
We love Gaz to bits. In his own words… he was a bit of a mess.
The BBC tells his story:
Since then Gaz has been wrapping vehicles, working for Aston Martin Racing, Prodrive, and has settled into a driving job that suits his needs, and those of his family. It isn’t just about the champagne moment, over half service leavers change employment in their first year as a civilian. We are there for blokes as they go through that transition, and for them as veterans.
You don’t need to be the one who has been on military operations to be affected by them. We work hard for the families, too, they need support and help too and you can’t build a future without considering their needs. Joanne, Gary’s wife, was the one who really brought him to us. She writes:
We first became aware of MM through a publication that I saw at work. Gary then attended the MM launch and was very impressed; but did not have the confidence to talk to Jim or anybody else that day. Gary knew that I worked with Jim so asked me to mention that he had been to the launch the next time we spoke; which I did. A short time later Jim asked if Gary was free that weekend, and that was the beginning of Gary’s incredible summer.
Gary was very involved with MM over the summer, whether it was racing or picking up and dropping off cars. He was absolutely loving every minute of it. I know he hoped that this would be a new career – but I was very sceptical indeed, and could not see how this could possibly lead to a new career. Who would want a broken 40+ racing driver?
When Gary was racing in the 24 hour Britcar at Silverstone we went to watch him race on the Sunday, and this is when I saw why he loved MM so much – and not just the racing side – there was a real sense of family and belonging and camaraderie – me and Lauren were made to feel so welcome and I think that this had been missing for Gary in the Army for a long time. I could see why he wanted to be part of this – I did!
I saw Gary get out of the car after his stint, and just walk over to the press to be filmed and do interviews – it was amazing to see him so relaxed in front of the cameras. This is something that most of us would feel uncomfortable doing, let alone talking about very personal matters.
When Gary was offered the work placement at Base Performance we were very excited, but knew that it would not lead to a job offer as they were such a small company. We decided that it was still very much worth taking the opportunity and they were obviously impressed with Gary as they offered him a job which he absolutely adores.
I had been very worried that Gary would end up in an awful job that he would hate and that it would be a massive crash back to reality after this exciting summer, but luckily for us all he has a job that he loves and where he feels valued. We both know that this would never have been possible without MM – not only because of their contacts, but because of the confidence it has given Gary. - Joanne Dunning