Good News in Veterans Care: March 2020

Dear friends,

We at VCA have all our members and supporters foremost in our thoughts and prayers at this time as we all navigate the uncharted waters of COVID19. All those that have embraced holistically, healthy, lifestyles will certainly weather the health challenges better than most, but we are mindful of the extended economic impact, bad news fatigue, and concern for aged loved ones that some of us are facing.

As I watch my local gym emptying , there’s never been a more important time to commit to our health and well being, and to be in the best position to help others. We in the VCA team remain available to help you and encourage in whatever support is needed. While we have been forced to defer TA13 until its clear to travel, we remain committed to our mission of improving the health and well being of veterans and their families.

Personally, my Sabbatical leave was excellent, and I have slowed down and relaxed. I’m healthy and focused on fine tuning a sustainable work/life balance. As part of my leave, I reflected on my journal entries of the past 7 years of VCA and particularly the 4 years when we’ve been delivering the Timor Awakening program, and am just amazed at what we’ve achieved. The assistance we’ve offered, and the insights we’ve gained are extraordinary.

Here’s a summary of participant comments…

  • Thanks so much for a life changing opportunity and the chance to reset my life.This valuable program far surpasses any conventional treatment in Australia
  • I have witnessed other veterans heal and have renewed my outlook on life.
  • I feel I’ve been able to connect with my spiritual side on a deeper level.
  • This program brings positivity back to veterans and shows what the veteran can do.
  • Veterans are sharing in their own health and well-being improvement together, instead of with civilian clinicians who don’t necessarily understand veteran’s perspectives.
  • The suicidal awareness has been impactful- moved by participants experiences.
  • This has been a much deeper focus on trauma recovery and emotional and mental health than I have ever experienced before. I’ve become more honest about my feelings and more connected to my husband’s and others experiences.
  • Despite the poverty, I’ve seen hope and inspirational stories. This was a cathartic experience.
  • This program is miles above and beyond any current offerings to Ex ADF people.
  • This is a very powerful and beneficial program that can save lives.
  • This program has given me a new outlook on life.
  • This program has given me new tools different to what any doctor has given me.
  • This program has helped me own my own recovery.
  • I have forgiven and now I can move on – massive for my mental health.

The results with our clients are fantastic. We have developed a world-class model, which has resulted in Two Assistant Secretaries of DVA now dialoguing with us, with a view to future collaboration. The most important thing we can do for veterans health is to continue, by example, to rebalance the national veterans paradigm from treatment of sickness to promotion of wellness.

We will keep an on-going TA program, but also be looking at ways to assist other veterans groups to develop similar programs.

2019 was a year of great progress . My President’s report is available here……… TA12 in Feb/Mar20 was an outstanding success, with foundations being laid at Same Veterans University for a kitchen, dining area, and accommodation block. Just prior, volunteer, Rys Broadfoot, achieved delivery of a whole container load of medical supplies which were vitally needed for the university’s medical faculty and clinic, and will help with their dealing with COVID19. Well done Rhys and many other VCA volunteers. We also participated in Timorese Veterans’ Day celebrations where Michael Stone made a landmark speech, inspiring all present to the special relationship we have, and the legacy we veterans are contributing to our two societies. RSL QLD has produced a video of our TA10 / Interfet commemoration (Youtube link here) which is also inspiring.

We are delighted that our primary Timorese collaborator and Deputy Chair of the Timorese Veterans Council, Ms Ines Imelda has now come to Canberra as the Timorese Ambassador.    She is also the best VCA ambassador we could have in Canberra as she has witnessed the blessings our work has had on both Timorese an Australian Veterans.  Alongside the announcement of a Standing Commission into Veterans Suicide, we are well placed to make a positive national contribution this year.  A newspaper article on our response to this Govt initiative is available here

Thank you for your collaborative efforts in getting us where we are today . Amidst the despair of many in society at this time, we can still be messengers of HOPE.

God can bless us with everything we need, and we will always have more than enough to do all kinds of good things for others . (St Paul in 2Cor 9:8)

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Kind regards and May God bless you,
your Padre,
Gary.

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