Good News in Veterans Care – June

Just a few date claimers of Good News events for you in the weeks ahead.
  • On Tues 12 June at 4 pm at the Cleveland Ex Services memorial, VCA member Marty Kruck will complete his amazing 1682 km walk of 41km each day for 41 consecutive days, in honour of our fallen in Afghanistan , and as a  fundraiser for VCA outreach. See martyfortyone  on FB or www.41for41raisley.com  to donate or give him your thanks and encouragement. Several VCA members incl myself, will walk with him on the last day.
  • On Sat 14 July  the Australian American Association will host  a VCA fundraising trivia night at 7 pm at St Thomas parish Hall 31 Perth St , Camp Hill. Thanks Mike Harris for organising this. Bookings can be made by email info@aaabrisbane.com  I will give  brief on our work.
  • On Sun 5 Aug at 1200pm  Knights of the Southern Cross have organised a fundraising luncheon , where I will speak at My Saigon Restaurant, 19 Darra Station Rd Darra. Thanks Kevin Lappin for organising this. All welcome; please book with Kevin on  0438741239.
  • On Sat 11August from 10am-1pm we will have our next VCA gathering at Mates4Mates Milton. We’ll be showing our TA6 Video and briefing TA7 participants
  • TA 7 will run from 8 to 19 Sep
  • Our AGM and Christmas party will be at Mates4mates on 17 Nov 10am -1pm
We’ve recently done some great work with Bolton Clarke in development of a health and well being video toolkit.  We look forward to its distribution  in the months ahead. We’ve also participated in numerous information sharing sessions with other Ex Service organisations and promoted our message of holistic health and post traumatic growth to hundreds of listeners.
Of course day-by-day we are engaging with individual veterans and their family members and offering encouragement and advice.
Thanks to all our supporters and sponsors. We are making a positive difference and raising the health and well being of veterans and their families, every day.

TA6 Feedback comments April 2018

1. I’m feeling better, more relaxed. Ive opened up, shared emotions, with others and my wife, that I’ve never done before . I’ve realised I can be myself and not a rock.

2. Terrific experience of friendship and values. Feel I’m now an ambassador of hope. Money well spent.

3. Felling super relaxed and energised. Just feeling so good. One of the best healing experiences.

4. An awesome experience- the program is like a glue that holds all other programs together. I’m more relaxed, more connected, more open, more sympathetic to people. Great health knowledge gained.

5. An excellent experience. I’m pleased I’ve come. It has given opportunity to exorcise demons from my Army service. We have had excellent leadership from the team on the trip.

6. A worthwhile trip. Put some negative aspects of my earlier time in Timor behind me. I have some mates that would really benefit from this.

7. Fantastic experience. Anxiety diminished, inner peace. I’ve looked at negative stories from my past, repainted them and let them go. Forever healed by this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

8. The programme has been excellent for me. Feeling 10/10. Sleeping well.

9. This programme is the best healing for veterans. RSL and Bolton Clarke are to be congratulated for their generous and ongoing support. TA has probably saved lives. More focus now on loving my wife and family. Your team are the most professional leaders I’ve had the privilege of knowing.

10. The best and most rewarding adventure I’ve ever done (in 72 yrs). Rewarded, blessed, and humbled. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for organising such a memorable journey. Everlasting memories for me.

11. This has been an uplifting expereince. I’m energised, enriched, grateful, and informed. I’ve mended old wounds, and now grateful for the life I’ve had.

12. The TA experience has been more beneficial to me than 2 1/2 years of psychiatric treatment and medication. I’m now positive about the future, more able to speak freely and be emotional.

13 More comfortable content and optimistic. Shared experience with my wife has powerfully bonded us.

14 . Mindblowing positive experience. Changed us to be more giving financially and emotionally. As a couple, it’s made us talk more about how we want to live and what we want to do in the future.

15. I’m less anxious, more relaxed , I’ve learned how to enjoy life. I’ll be able to get off medications.

16. Absolutely the most amazing programme. So well balanced, well executed and with a real sense of caring. I’m now calmer, more confident and I have a sense of hope. Sponsors –your money is invested well.

17. I’ve witnessed healing and calming in all attendees. This is the best and most healing programme I’ve attended as a TPI. I’m less stressed, more relaxed and have knowledge now on how I can assist veterans.

18. Thank you, I’m most grateful to see my husband become more positive and have new goals. And I’m much more relaxed, lighter, more positive and I’ll now do some volunteering .

19/20 . Had to cancel on deployment day due to medical issues.

21. This trip has changed my life. I no longer want to kill myself. Sponsors your financial support changes lives from darkness to light. I now thank God for the blessings he gives me each day.

22. This has changed my life and my partner’s. Better than all the medical interventions we have had.

23. I’m feeling grateful to be part of VCA. A circuit breaker experience. More euphoric – more informed.

24. Thank you to the VCA team. Through you, miracles of life over death have been achieved.

Photo Gallery from TA6

May 2018 News

We have had an amazing start to 2018. In April, our Sixth Timor Awakening group of 27, traveled through the western districts of Timor and the Awakenings for all participants were life changing. I include the summary one line outcomes for each participant below. Tears of joy flowed, as one participant shared how this experience had moved him from the despair of wanting to kill himself, to the joy and hope of now having a plan to live.

TA6 also saw the launch of the Australian Veterans Scholarship scheme, whereby our veterans empower the children of Timorese veterans by funding their vocational training in hospitality trades at the East Timor Development Agency in Dili. 26 scholarships have been awarded at this stage. The Timorese are so grateful for this. As founder Michael Stone says – “Giving is good for our health”. A great initiative of Michael Stone. Find out more on our new Timor Awakening website – www.timorawakening.com.au

Our collaboration with major sponsor, Bolton Clark. (formerly RSL Care) continues with extensive participation in the production of an educational video series on Veterans Health and Wellbeing. This is a project that can have massive impact for the veteran community across Australia and we can be proud that Bolton Clarke have sought inputs from all our key staff and clinical advisers in producing this.

As you read this. VCA member, Martin Kruck is completing “41 for 41” to honour the Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Commencing 3 May, Marty is walking 41km each day for 41 days in a circuit around Redlands. Donations offered are to be given to Veterans Care. Thanks Marty . See www.41for41.raisley.com for details.

Expressions of interest are now open for TA7, 8-19 Sep18 . Perhaps you may know someone who might benefit from this and could encourage them to apply.

Finally, can I say special thanks to our management team of Geoff Fry, Col Ahern, Wayne Robson and Michael Stone, and our key staffer Michael Albrecht. They are doing all the administrative and logistic work to enable these outcomes to be fruitful. And thank you to all who sponsor us. May God bless you.

Please join us for our next gathering:

When: Saturday 12th May 2018
Time: 10:00am – 1.00pm (includes lunch)
Where: Mates4Mates – Douglas Street Milton

 TA6 Feedback comments April 2018

1. Im feeling better, more relaxed. Ive opened up, shared emotions, with others and my wife, that I’ve never done before . I’ve realised I can be myself and not a rock.

2. Terrific experience of friendship and values. Feel I’m now an ambassador of hope. Money well spent.

3. Felling super relaxed and energised. Just feeling so good. One of the best healing experiences.

4. An awesome experience- the program is like a glue that holds all other programs together. I’m more relaxed, more connected, more open, more sympathetic to people. Great health knowledge gained.

5. An excellent experience. I’m pleased I’ve come. It has given opportunity to exorcise demons from my Army service. We have had excellent leadership from the team on the trip.

6. A worthwhile trip. Put some negative aspects of my earlier time in Timor behind me. I have some mates that would really benefit from this.

7. Fantastic experience. Anxiety diminished, inner peace. I’ve looked at negative stories from my past, repainted them and let them go. Forever healed by this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

8. The programme has been excellent for me. Feeling 10/10. Sleeping well.

9. This programme is the best healing for veterans. RSL and Bolton Clarke are to be congratulated for their generous and ongoing support. TA has probably saved lives. More focus now on loving my wife and family. Your team are the most professional leaders I’ve had the privilege of knowing.

10. The best and most rewarding adventure I’ve ever done (in 72 yrs). Rewarded, blessed, and humbled. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for organising such a memorable journey. Everlasting memories for me.

11. This has been an uplifting expereince. I’m energised, enriched, grateful, and informed. I’ve mended old wounds, and now grateful for the life I’ve had.

12. The TA experience has been more beneficial to me than 2 1/2 years of psychiatric treatment and medication. I’m now positive about the future, more able to speak freely and be emotional.

13 More comfortable content and optimistic. Shared experience with my wife has powerfully bonded us.

14 . Mindblowing positive experience. Changed us to be more giving financially and emotionally. As a couple, it’s made us talk more about how we want to live and what we want to do in the future.

15. I’m less anxious, more relaxed , I’ve learned how to enjoy life. I’ll be able to get off medications.

16. Absolutely the most amazing programme. So well balanced, well executed and with a real sense of caring. I’m now calmer, more confident and I have a sense of hope. Sponsors –your money is invested well.

17. I’ve witnessed healing and calming in all attendees. This is the best and most healing programme I’ve attended as a TPI. I’m less stressed, more relaxed and have knowledge now on how I can assist veterans.

18. Thank you, I’m most grateful to see my husband become more positive and have new goals. And I’m much more relaxed, lighter, more positive and I’ll now do some volunteering .

19/20 . Had to cancel on deployment day due to medical issues.

21. This trip has changed my life. I no longer want to kill myself. Sponsors your financial support changes lives from darkness to light. I now thank God for the blessings he gives me each day.

22. This has changed my life and my partner’s. Better than all the medical interventions we have had.

23. I’m feeling grateful to be part of VCA. A circuit breaker experience. More euphoric – more informed.

24. Thank you to the VCA team. Through you, miracles of life over death have been achieved.

Photo Gallery from TA6

March 2018 News

Please come and join us for our gathering day this Saturday at Mates4Mates, Douglas St, Milton. 10am till 1pm (incl Lunch).

Michael Stone is just back from a 10 Day Recon in Timor and ready to brief us on arrangements for TA6 8-18 Apr.

Whilst there he had liaison on a range of other initiatives that he wants to float to our VCA community, including a scholarship scheme to train children of Timorese veterans at the ETDA hospitality school in Dili, plans for a special Anzac Day in Dili trip in 2019 and a 20 years since Liberation celebration in Sept 19, and development of the Timorese veterans centre and historical park – all great follow up activities for TA alumni. Our video production on TA5 is complete and we hope to show it to you and upload it to YouTube.

The VCA management committee had visits recently from Federal MP Trevor Evans, congratulating us on our Life Coaching (with Michael Albrecht) initiative and Lynette Gambrill, President of RSL Ladies Auxiliary, who presented us with a $2300 donation. Thanks to both of you.

Our collaboration with our major sponsor, Bolton Clarke ( formerly RSL CARE) continues to grow with invitations to speak at retirement villages around ANZAC Day, and involvement on a major Veterans Health and Wellbeing educational video which will be a national first in helping families and veterans better understand how to live happy and healthy lives, no matter what health conditions assail them from time-to-time. Thank you Pat McIntosh, Steve Muggleton and your staff.

RSL QLD have offered us a new sponsorship contract to support activities in 2018, with new additional specific funding to support the Timorese veterans and our ongoing relationship with them. Thank you Scott Denner, Katie Maloney and RSL QLD.

We continue to be grateful for the many individuals who support us financially and promote our message of Hope, through intentional health and well being, planning and peer support.

 

The Gospel we have been preaching is being heard and echoed in many Ex-Service forums. We set out to raise the level of health and well being of veterans and their families, and it is happening! I must say that God has blessed this activity and as we approach Easter let us also give thanks to God who desires that we live in the Fullness of life, (John 10:10).

May God bless you this Easter, and may you pass that blessing of love, joy and peace on to others.

Your Padre, Gary

Timor Awakening 5 Qualitative Report

Timor Awakening 5 (TA5), a 12-day holistic health program for veterans, was conducted in from 14 to 25 October 2017. The program included 1 day in Darwin, 4 days in Dili and 7 days throughout rural areas of Timor-Leste (TL) including the Districts of Aileu, Ainaro, Manu-Fahi, Liquisa and Bobonaro.

TA5 included 28 Australians (21 Veterans / 2 Care Participants / 5 support staff) and 12 Timorese Veterans. The 2 care participants included a wife/carer of one of the Veterans and the mother of a fallen Australian soldier who was killed in action in Afghanistan. Interestingly TA5 had 3 sets of veteran father and sons (ie all ex-serving returned servicemen). TA5 was supported by the Timor-Leste Office of the Prime Minister, the Timor-Leste Defence Force and National Police Force.

The backdrop of a developing and peaceful Timor-Leste is proving to be one that offers hope and healing for veterans of Timor-Leste and for all as Australians, given our significant contribution to peace in Timor-Leste. TA5 provided a multitude of modalities and experiences for individuals, small groups and large groups; including regular professional education and guidance, peer2peer support, physical exercise, mindfulness, meditation, aromatherapy, exposure and unique interaction with foreign communities and veterans. The program provided professional one-on-one guidance and periods of decompression at the start and conclusion of the immersion period.

To read/download the complete report, please click here. 

Photos from Timor Awakening 5

February 2018 News

Happy New Year!!

Please join us for our next gathering:

WhenSaturday 17th March 2018
Time10:00am – 1.00pm (includes lunch)
Where: Mates4Mates – Douglas Street Milton

We at VCA are determined that this be the best year of our lives yet!

Preparations are well under way for our sixth Timor Awakening which will deploy into Timor from 8 to 18 April with 22 participants and 5 staff. Each time we embrace lessons learned and suggestions from previous participants, and this trip will be slower paced and provide more times for sharing and reflection.

We will still be engaging with many Timorese and staying overnight in Dili, on the beach at Likisa, and in the fort at Balibo. Our briefing day for this trip is Sat 17 March and we welcome previous participants to come and share their experiences too. We are hoping to show our own produced video from TA5 Commando Return. The qualitative report from this programme is enclosed here. Special thanks to our VCA Clinical Psychologist, Chris Hully, for her outstanding work displaying in graphic form how people improved across every domain of health and wellbeing.

We have finally been recognised by DVA with the award of a one off $73,000 Grant to trial life Coaching for Veterans through funding Michael Albrecht for the next 12 months.
This is a great affirmation of our work. Michael has been a great asset to us, and we commend anyone to approach him for Life Coaching, which can be done face-to-face, or over the phone.

Special thanks to Rob Vicary at The Gap for offering Veterans and their families a free 1 hr massage and reflexology assessment. From experience I know Rob offers a great service. Rob was our Founding VCA secretary and is a professional Therapist. Click here to download the voucher.

In coming week, we are deliver health and well being education to various RSL and church groups, as well as participating in the DVA Mens Health Peer education programme.

Michael will also be off to Timor for a recon for TA6 as well as starting dialogue for TA 7 – 9-19 Sep 18, and 2019 trips involving Anzac Day in Dili and a 20th anniversary of Interfet trip in Sep 19.

Please drop in to see us any Monday morning at 2 Victoria Park Rd Kelvin Grove or any Tuesdayat Veterans Support Group, Leagues Club Drive Nerang.

I leave you with some kind words from Former Commando David Lynch who wrote to us after TA5…”Two months ago I embarked on Timor Awakening and it has had a profound effect upon me . The generosity displayed by Gary and Michael towards us and the Timorese people was unlike anything I have encountered in 77years.- truly the embodiment of caring people. I was able to immerse myself right from the start to absorb myself in the nurturing of body mind and soul which is at the core of your beliefs. Being with you has been the singular enduring emotional and physical experience of my life.”

Please join us on 17 March at Milton

Life Coaching

The team here at Veterans Care Association is excited to announce that we now provide life coaching as part of our ongoing care to veterans. We know how much value the 11-day day Timor Awakening program has been for our participants and want to do everything within our capacity to ensure this momentum is not lost upon return to Australia.

Our life coach Michael Albrecht is a former full time Army member, having served for 11 years, with operational experience in The Solomon Islands, Timor Leste and Afghanistan. His life-coaching journey started in 2014 and he soon began pursuing a new career as a life coach after leaving the Army. He was trained, mentored and certified by the Gold Coast based company, Ultimate Coach.

Coaching is a future focused, results generation pursuit with the principal aim of moving people forwards, transporting them from where they are to where they want to be. This can be in the area of health and fitness, career, finances, relationships, time management, life mission, creativity / self-expression or whatever goals a client may have.

Michael’s vision as your coach is to be somebody in your corner, who sees aspects of your life better than you currently see them and can enable you to see the road to get you there as soon as possible.

November News

Please join us for our AGM and Christmas party on Sat 18 Nov at Mates4mates Milton at 11:00.

Dear friends,
We conclude 2017 fully satisfied that we are making a positive impact in improving the lives of veterans and their families. Every veteran completing our program is a prophet of Hope and a Compassionate Carer reaching out to those around them.

Our October Timor immersion was our best one yet in terms of health outcomes for veterans and families. We were joined by nominees from the Commando Associations in Qld Vic, NSW and WA and visited all sites of Commando activity in Timor. Once again we interacted with many Timorese veterans and were welcomed to country by new Prime Minister, Mari Alkitiri and were able to lobby him for support to the Timorese veterans. We were delighted to be displaying our major sponsor – Bolton Clark (formerly RSL Care) branding. (more…)

Veterans and Rotary Activity in Timor

A group of 23 Australian veterans conducted an 11 day Veteran Health programme from 14 to 25 October 2017 distributing 2,500 Kits4Kids in remote rural areas of Timor Leste.  The programme also involved a range of physical activities involving daily walks, some cycling, stretching and discussions on a range of physical activity options suitable for veterans.  It also included inputs on nutrition, nurture of the mind, the soul and relationships, as well as developing a future life purpose.

A continuing aspect of the Timor Awakening programme involves the distribution of Kits4Kits packs to rural schools.  These small education kits consist of an exercise book, a pencil, rubber, ruler and a Ziploc plastic bag to carry them in and are purchased in Dili by Rotary with funds raised in Australia.  Of course the children and teachers are delighted to receive these resources, but the engagement with school children has a therapeutic effect on our participating veterans as well.  Programme Director Michael Stone says “There is as much joy and smiles on the faces of our veterans as there is on the children.” (more…)

President’s Report FY: 2016/2017

This last 12 months has seen the most significant increase in the range and number of services provided to veterans and their families by VCA, and a 10 fold increase in our financial receipts and expenditure . This has occurred largely as a result of the services provided in the Timor Awakening Programme, developed and delivered by Michael Stone.  Significant funding support has come from our major sponsor RSL Care- now known as Bolton Clark , as well as RSL Qld and Knights of the Southern Cross, and a range of other donors.  Generous volunteers have given the gifts of their time to deliver these services , as well as provide the governance to enable them . While the balance sheet reflects a trading deficit over the period, we delivered services from funds donated in the previous trading year and concluded the year with a $129,412 cash surplus. (more…)

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