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Strengthening Timor ties

CLOSE ties between Church and people are a legacy of last month’s Anzac Day visit to Brisbane by Timor Leste’s new leader accompanied by war veterans. It was the first visit to Australia by President  elects Francisco Guterres, a 24-year veteran of East Timor’s resistance to Indonesian occupation. Mr Guterres is keen to forge neighbourly ties, and is particularly concerned with improving the welfare of veterans in the fledgling Timor Leste. In Brisbane, the Catholic Church is playing a prominent part in both creating goodwill and assisting veterans re-integrate into civilian life. Timor Leste veterans marched alongside Australian comrades in […]

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Mau Buti joins Anzac Day commemoration

TIMOR Leste’s independence struggle veteran Mau Buti spent 24 years as a guerrilla fighter living in the mountains. Last week Mr Buti mingled with Australian students and veterans as he and 30 Timorese veterans accompanied his country’s President-elect Francisco Guterres on a visit to Queensland to strengthen veteran ties and take part in Anzac Day commemorations. In Brisbane’s Anzac Square last Monday, he met Australian students who marvelled at him and several of his veteran companions, when they were told of the struggle Timorese guerrillas endured in a long and dangerous occupation by Indonesia. Year 7 students from Our Lady’s […]

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Timorese president will lead veterans’ delegation

New Timorese president will lead veterans’ delegation at Anzac Day services in Brisbane THE newly-elected president of Timor Leste, former guerilla fighter Francisco Guterres, will lead a 30-person delegation of veterans to Brisbane this Anzac Day. President Guterres, a Catholic, was a commander during a two decades-long armed struggle against Indonesia, which invaded Timor Leste in 1974. The visit by Timorese war veterans to participate in Anzac activities honours the commitment of Australian troops supporting the people of Timor Leste – both in the Second World War and since 1999 when Australian troops have helped restore civil order after a […]

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Psychologist praises TA

Leading clinical psychologist praises veteran program ‘Timor Awakening’ A LEADING clinical psychologist has praised the “quality healing” of the rehabilitation program Timor Awakening, which is helping veterans deal with PTSD, substance abuse, isolation and thoughts of committing suicide. Brisbane-based Dr John Barletta, who volunteered as a consultant on the Timor Awakening program, said “it has been inspiring to see veterans and leaders connect, support, guide, challenge, and educate one another” and “regain a sense of worth in their lives”. The one-year program, led by Deacon Gary Stone and the Veterans Care Association with support from RSL Queensland, includes an innovative immersion […]

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March News

Our next VCA gathering day is on Sat 1 April at Mates4Mates Milton at 1000 One of our recent Timor Awakening participants has said :  “This has been the best experience of my life.” Another reported: “ This has provided me more help than all of the clinicians I have seen over many years.” With feedback such as this we are encouraged that the model we are developing in Veterans Health is not just helping the individuals we are directly engaging with , but also will change the broader approach offered  to all veterans. We are about promoting a wellness […]

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Timor Awakens by Kylie Hatfield

“Timor-Leste is a country that is peaceful, unexplored, rich in culture and a significant shared history with the Australian Military. It’s a country full of veterans and civilians that have suffered unimaginable atrocities, hardship, trauma and oppression; a people who have exhibited incredible resilience, reconciled with their foes and are moving forward,” described Michael Stone of Veterans Care. “We can be very proud of our military intervention since INTERFET, and we are honoured to provide our veterans the opportunity to be inspired from the healing and rehabilitation the Timorese veterans provide us; to move forward with hope and purpose.” Timor […]

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President’s Report

Presidents Report  to AGM for FY 15/16 This last 12 months has seen a most significant increase in the range and number of services provided to veterans and their families by VCA . This has occurred as a result of the development of the Timor Awakening Programme, and significant funding support from RSL Care , RSL Qld and Knights of the Southern cross as well as a range of other donors.  But the actual service delivery has been facilitated by many generous volunteers  who are members of VCA . VCA was established to raise the level of health of the […]

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Aussie Veterans are receiving Healing and Hope through a Timor Awakening

Former Army Warrant Officer Nick , considers the title Timor Awakening a most apt title for the 11 day experience he had in Timor in September 2016 . “ It was real awakening to me of the possibilities of healing. My partner has noticed a huge change in me since I came home. I’ve had the chance to put some demons behind. A huge thanks to the VCA team of Michael Stone, Gary Stone, Kirsten Wells, Bob Breen, Merryn Thomae and Wayne Smith who have facilitated this journey for us.” Former AFP agent Mark says “ I have been able […]

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Personal Reflections on Timor Awakening: A rehabilitation program for mentally ill Australian veterans

By Associate Professor Bob Breen. I am a veteran managing depression. For many veterans like me, mental illness is a private nightmare that becomes a public humiliation as well as a disaster for loved ones. The consequences include relationship breakdown, substance abuse, unemployment and suicide. I have been publicly humiliated by my illness. I am divorced. I have lost my job. I am managing my illness much better now and have another job. I am writing to share the effects of the Timor Awakening program on me and others. After 40 years in uniform, finishing as a Colonel, I have re-joined a brotherhood […]

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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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