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Caring for Families in Crisis

DEACON Gary Stone and his team from Veterans’ Care Association work around a lounge room table, in a Kelvin Grove house that doubles as an office and a drop-in centre. Deacon Stone is chaplain to the veteran and ex-services community, and since VCA was set up 18 months ago, there’s been a rapidly growing demand for their services, which include holistic health education and individual assistance. The work has expanded to include caring for families of veterans in crisis. Brisbane archdiocese has the highest concentration of veterans in Australia, with 70,000 living here, or approximately 25 per cent of all […]

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Good News in Veterans Care October Edition

We are celebrating an amazing year of support to Veterans and their families in 2016. Please join us for our two remaining gathered events of the year to hear details of our achievements: Timor Awakening workshop – 10:00-13:00, Sat 22 Oct at Mates4Mates Douglas St Milton; VCA AGM and Christmas party – 11:00-13:00, Sun 20 Nov at Kookaburra Café , Given Tce Paddington Our second Timor immersion experience was very well received by participants. Comments include: “I felt a sense of release everyday with every experience” “I have struggled for 15 years with a lot of demons before this trip- now […]

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The Care of Veterans

From the experiences of Chaplain Gary Stone and many others This resource is produced as a guide for Veterans , their families and other carers, to better understand health, disease, and healing in the veterans context. Our experience is that if we can choose to be proactive in a holistic health programme, we can counter distress, develop resilience, and maintain wellbeing, and look forward in hope. Background All who serve their nation in the Defence Force, Police or Emergency services will experience consequences to their health and wellbeing as a result. Their families will also experience consequences and may struggle […]

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Message from the Archbishop

Dear Brothers and Sisters, In this Year of Mercy, I am writing to all Catholic parishes, schools and agencies and ask your consideration for a special acknowledgement to be afforded to veterans and their families in the Archdiocese during the week 22 – 30 October. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has recently gazetted this as Veterans’ Health Week and wish to promote a theme of “social connection” for veterans to be embraced by the wider community. On Anzac Day the Archdiocese has given due honour and recognition to those who have made the supreme sacrifice, but less attention is […]

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Good News from Veterans Care

Dear  Friends, As you read this we are about to deploy on our second Timor immersion. We have 22 participants and six staff , that will join a similar number of Timorese veterans in country. We welcome to our team Wayne Smith as our Admin Co-ordinator and Merryn Thomae and Bob Breen as Pastoral Carers. Special thanks to Michael and Kirsten for many hours of preparation to get this programme running. Thanks also to Stewart Cameron, Scott Denner and all at RSL Qld for funding this programme. We will be tailoring this trip to have more reflection time and more […]

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An East Timor Experience

Ex-serviceman Dwayne Cashman returned to East Timor, this time as a Tourist Most people go on holiday to lounge about in the sun, but Dwayne Cashman, of Wynyard, took a 10-day tour in East Timor to see how a country had recovered and transformed from its war-torn past. Serving two tours in the country in support against the anti-independence militia in the late 90s, Mr Cashman described a country that was facing violence, lawlessness and general terror. This time around though, Mr Cashman and a group of 20 veterans got to see a developed and functioning country. “A lot of the […]

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Timor Awakening Update

29 Australians and 20 Timorese Veterans completed a joint rehabilitation experience in Timor from 17-28 July 2016. From touchdown at Dili airport, through 960 km of travel in rural areas, and till takeoff 11 days later, we were overwhelmed by the hospitality of the Timorese. Hundreds of Timorese veterans turned out in every District, and massive community welcoming ceremonies and celebrations every day. Our purpose had been to improve the health of the veterans and their families by having a communal lived experience reflecting on the resilience and rehabilitation demonstrated by the Timorese and shared reflections amongst ourselves. End of […]

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Good News from Veterans Care

As you are reading this, our first Timor immersion is underway! Michael Stone is in Dili working with the Timorese veterans who are hosting us. Kirsten Wells is on her way to Darwin to meet with four Darwin participants and early arrivals from Tasmania, NSW and Rockhampton, and Caitlin Proctor and I will travel with the main body from Brisbane early Sunday morning. We will be farewelled in Darwin by Timorese Ambassador to Australia Abel Guterres, and newly elected Federal Member for Darwin, Army Veteran and good friend of ours, Luke Gosling. In Dili we will be met on the […]

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Caring for the mind

As with the body we need to embrace those things that nurture us and avoid those things which are toxic. The most toxic impact on the mind is stress. Stress is a more significant danger to our health than being 15 kg overweight. Stress hormones increase our blood flow to the muscles for  “fight or flight” and in doing so,  shut down our processes for healing and growth. Stress down regulates our immune system . What happens in our mind affects our body in profound ways. Chronic stress raises cortisol levels which turns off our immune system, keeps us awake, […]

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Caring for the soul

Defence has recently released a DVD called ‘Dents in the Soul”. The title comes from a statement by a veteran commander from our 1992 Somalia deployment who reflected that he had received “Dents in the Soul” from this experience. From a philosophical and spiritual perspective, our soul is different to our mind. The soul can provide the vision and inspiration to direct the mind. The mind is a physical place intimately connected with the chemistry of our brain.  Our soul is a spiritual reality. It is that aspect of our existence where we find true identity and purpose. All animals […]

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