Veterans Care Association News
8th Edition: May 2016


Sunday 15th of May at 7pm
 Kookaburra Cafe, Given Terrace Paddington

Come at 6pm if you'd like to eat with us. 

Dear reader

Wow, how much good is happening through VCA!

In preparing a report for our sponsors recently I determined that this financial year so far we have had 780 pastoral care interventions and provided health education to 1530 veterans. Moreover, we have consolidated relationships with sponsors and are rolling out our Timor Awakening experience, with many positive spin offs.

In providing spiritually based pastoral care as well as education in holistic health, we are a unique organisation in the Ex-service community. No one else is providing this!

We made another great leap forward for VCA in formally employing Kirsten Wells as our Veteran Services Coordinator, joining with Caitlin Proctor, our Pastoral Care Coordinator.

Kirsten has had 17 years’ service in Army. She is qualified and experienced as an advanced medic, a paramedic, a counsellor, a mental health nurse, and most recently the Health promotion advisor for DVA Qld. Kirsten has a passion for working with Veterans and their families and improving their lives.

We have also been provided office space at the Veteran Support Centre, Leagues Club Drive Nerang (adjacent to train station) where Gary and volunteers are seeing clients.

We are embarked on the most ambitious and unique rehabilitation programme for Veterans through Timor Awakening. Michael Stone, leading this project, recently visited Timor staying with President Jose Ramos Horta and plotting out an 11 day trek through the sites of all Australian involvements from WW2 to the present day. We will be engaging Timorese veterans and local communities and learning how they have rehabilitated after extensive trauma.

But the main feature of the programme is 12 months of engagement with Veterans and their families in Australia, assisting them in identifying the areas of healing that they need, developing holistic health plans for their lives, and looking forward with hope to the future.

Special thanks RSL Qld President Stewart Cameron and RSL State Secretary Scott Denner for funding our first programme with 20 participant families. That commenced on 1 May and deploys to Timor on 16 July. A second programme will commence in June and deploy to Timor on 18 September . The programme will be clinically evaluated by Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation in the first ever evidence based research into Peer to Peer rehabilitation. .

This most exciting development has come to us thanks to the collaboration and inspiration of Michael and Veteran Glenn Azar. Glenn runs Adventure Professionals, and will oversee the administration of the treks.

Another exciting development has been an invitation for us to be the charity of choice at the 2016 Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. Gary will be keynote speaker on the interface of faith and medicine in the rehabilitation of veterans, and Michael will speak on Timor Awakening. This is a major civic event with many (300-400) community leaders involved, who have the capacity to reach many veterans. The date of the breakfast is 13 May and we will have a VCA table so please let me know if you would like to join us.

Gary has continued to provide holistic health presentations to Soldier Recovery Centre (2x20), Army Junior leaders courses (4 x 60), various RSL groups (100), Army Canungra (100) Full Gospel Business Fellowship (40 and Chermside seniors (80).

During the period, we received a $75,000 Grant from RSL Care for ministry support! RSL Care were our major sponsor in 2015, and desire to continue to have the closest relationship with us into the future.

Thanks to Chairman Pat McIntosh and CEO Steve Muggleton.

In affirming their future support, Pat praised our faithfulness and compassion for caring for Veterans and their families and Steve observed that our unique characteristic was that we were giving people HOPE. RSL care is the largest provider of aged-care in Australia. They have invited us to speak to their staff to help them better understand veterans, and explain our vision, objectives and strategies.

Thanks to Rob Vicary for his magnificent contribution as our initial Secretary, which he now handed over to Col Ahern. We will be forever indebted to you Rob for your vision and enthusiasm. Geoff Fry continues with great work on our finances. 

Our next gatherings will be at Kookaburra café Paddington from 6.00pm dinner and 7.00pm meeting on Sundays 15 May, 14 Aug, and AGM on 20 Nov 16. Our generous host there is Steve Hall, a veteran and VCA member himself. Thanks Steve.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon us…..

..For he has anointed us to bring good news to the afflicted, to proclaim liberty to captives, to bring new sight to the blind, to set the down trodden free, and proclaim the Lords favour … Luke 4: 16-19

Thanks all for your prayerful support. 

Yours Faithfully,


Register for the Timor awakening experience here

EOI for 18-28 September closes 31/5/16

Under the inspiration and sponsorship of RSL Qld, Veterans Care Association and Adventure Professionals (all Veterans and RSL members themselves), are offering to deliver a pilot programme of renewal and rehabilitation for 200 Australian veterans and 80 Timorese Veterans, centred around 10 immersion experiences of 11 days duration in Timor-Leste with first deployment commencing in July 2016. The name for this project is Timor Awakening (TA).

Read more


Timor Awakening

Article reproduced with permission from RSL

"A new venture born from the experiences of three Timor veterans aims to show veterans of all eras the positive outcomes of service and assist in their healing and rehabilitation."
Kylie Hatfield, Department of Defence. 

"East Timor is a country that is absolutely peaceful right now and has been for years, and that’s partly to do with the positive intervention of Australian troops,” Michael Stone said, as he prepared to recall his extraordinary professional and personal relationship with one of Australia’s closest geographic neighbours. On the eve of the launch of a new program that will see veterans of any era visit East Timor on an adventure to experience how the people and the country have rehabilitated, and reflect on their own journeys, Michael explained that his mission now is to build on the strong relationships between Timorese and Australians, established throughout years of military history between the two nations. “We are hoping to fulfil the promises of the Commandos of WWII; going back and looking after the people that looked after us.” Australia’s military relationship with East Timor began in WWII when our troops established positions in the territory in an attempt to stem Japan’s advance. Fighting side-by-side with the Australians, tens of thousands of Timorese lost their lives.

Read more (article starts page 36)

Gary's Post Traumatic Healing Tips for Caring for the Body

Caring for the body

• Water. We need to drink 2 to 3 litres of water every day . Water aids in the transmission of nutrients and the disposal of toxins. We need to drink before meals and not during or after, as this will interfere with digestion.

• Sleep and the rest. During sleep, growth hormones are active, our immune system fights unhealthy cells , and cortisol levels reduce . Most of us will need 7 to 9 hours of unbroken sleep, to assist our body to recharge. We must avoid the stimulation of caffeine and sugar prior to sleep as well as any noisy intrusions during sleep time. A dark room is best. Where we miss sleep time we must catch it up later to give the body the repair time that it needs.

Read more.

Thanks to our generous sponsors...