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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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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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