Ex Stone Pillow (EXSP) was an initiative established in 2013 by a then current serving member of the Australian Army CPL Elena Rowland. The initiative is an annual sleep out in the streets to replicate the living conditions of our homeless Veterans.
EXSP mission is two-fold, firstly to bring attention to the need for a better understanding of the issue of homelessness within the Australian Veteran Community, and secondly to raise funds for organisations who provide housing and support to homeless veterans and their families.
The first EXSP event was in Sept 2013 where CPL Rowland gathered about 30 supporters to sleep in a park with her in West End QLD. CPL Rowland raised more than $6000 on this night and gave the funds to Mates4mates who do preventative work with veterans.
The Premier of Queensland at the time, Campbell Newman commended CPL Rowland’s work with EXSP and awarded her an invitation to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge State Conference luncheon held on Easter weekend in 2014. She was invited to be a representative of the people working for the welfare of the homeless, and was presented to Her Royal Highness Kate Middleton where she got to talk about her mission.
At the end of 2013 whilst conducting research into Veteran homelessness, CPL Rowland discovered a shelter – Remembrance House – in Burpengary and mobilised a team to help her raise awareness and funds for this shelter. She organised EXSP on the 18th Oct out at the Homeless shelter and raised more than $8,000 which was used for building a family barbecue area on the property.
In 2014 CPL Rowland got commended by the Chief of Army for her work with veterans and got awarded the “I’m an Australian Soldier’ scholarship in recognition of her initiative.
In 2015, Wounded Heroes Australia provided our support to EXSP and in 2016 took over the event, but still with our Elena the greatest inspiration.
"Human dignity begins the day you can call a place home". Unknown