What Participants from TA7 are saying…

1. I am very appreciative of the professional and personal warmth of the leadership team.
2. You showed there’s always Hope. Every now and then God gives us a flower. We received several.
3. Now I know I’m not alone. Take this trip and you find yourself. (more…)

President’s Report to AGM for FY 17/18

This last 12 months has seen the work of VCA develop a deep sense of maturity and stability. We have finely tuned the services provided to veterans and their families. We have developed a robust management framework with strong governance and financial accountability. We have a competent and collaborative staff team. The Timor Awakening Program, developed and delivered by Michael Stone has been our flagship activity . Significant funding support has come from our major sponsor Bolton Clark, as well as RSL Qld and Knights of the Southern Cross, and other donors. Generous volunteers have given the gifts of their time to deliver services as well as provide the governance to enable them. Michael Albrecht’s Life Coaching has been a great innovation – winning funding by DVA. (more…)

Veteran Family Toolkit Series

We are excited to announce that a series of videos created by Altura Learning & Bolton Clarke have been launched and are now available for viewing, through the link below.

Veteran Family Toolkit Video Series

There are 5 episodes:

  • Episode 1: The Veteran Perspective
    What is it like to be a Veteran who has experienced mental health issues?
  • Episode 2: What is Mental Health?
    This video features interviews with experts in the field of Veteran mental health, who provide commentary on the key contributing factors and symptoms Veterans may experience when it comes to mental illness.
  • Episode 3: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
    We treat physical injury, so why not psychological injury?
  • Episode 4: The Family Perspective
    What is it like to be a family member of a Veteran who is experiencing mental health issues?
  • Episode 5: Getting Help & PTSD Treatments
    We seek help to negotiate new things, things we aren’t trained for, things we can’t fix on our own, so why not seek help for PTSD?

Date Claimer: AGM & Christmas Party

Saturday 17 November 2018 10am-1pm
Mates4Mates, Douglas Street, Milton

We will conduct our Annual General Meeting on Saturday 17 November 2018, to be followed by our Christmas Party. This will be a great opportunity to re-connect with other veterans, supporters and VCAI staff. An update on TA7, which was conducted in September; and preliminary briefings on TA8 planned for February 2019 will be included.

Photos and Videos will be shown of Timor Awakening and other VCAI activities. Also, we will show some of the latest professional videos commissioned by Bolton Clarke which stars some of our members.

Morning tea and a light lunch will be provided. Please bring along your partner and veteran friends.

Notice of Special General Meeting

Where: VCAI Office, 2 Victoria Park Rd, Kelvin Grove
When: Monday 15th October 2018
Start Time: 9.00am

Special General Meeting will be held on Monday 15 October 2018 at 9.00am at VCAI Office2 Victoria Park Rd Kelvin Grove to vote on a special resolution to an ‘Update of VCAI Rules’ (see comments on rules below).

The proposed ‘Update of VCAI Rules’ is available on the website.

• To download the existing rules, please click here.

• To download the proposed new rules, please click here.

Tea and coffee will be available from 8.30am. The meeting starting sharply at 9.00am should take less than 15 minutes.

The only Special General Meeting Agenda item is to vote on the special resolution to accept the proposed ‘Update of VCAI Rules’ published on the website.

Comment on Rules Update:

As VCAI has progressed, some minor changes have been identified to better reflect our present and future ‘Objects.’ For example, our main remediation program, Timor Awakening, has evolved subsequent to the formation of VCAI in 2014. With a few minor exceptions, the VCAI Rules follow the ‘model rules’ on the Qld Government Office of Fair-Trading website for charitable organisations.

Apart from some corrections or word changes, the main changes/additions to the Rules are in Section 3 and 3.1, ‘Objects’; Section 5 ‘Classes of Members’; and Section 7 ‘Membership’. Please follow the links to read or download the Proposed VCAI Update Rules and the Original VCAI Rules.

Note: according to our present rules only financial members are entitled to vote

Financial members who cannot attend the Special General Meeting may forward their vote on the official form (please download Voting Form here) or request the secretary to post a form for their use.  The signed form should be posted / emailed to arrive a business day before the special meeting or given to the secretary before the start of the meeting, so it can be counted in the voting.

Financial members may alternatively nominate a proxy (please download the proxy form here) to vote for them at the meeting, if sent to the secretary by mail /email to arrive a business day before the meeting; or handed to the secretary before the start of the meeting.

To become a financial member of VCAI, please download, complete and return this form.

A Committee meeting will start shortly after completion of the Special General Meeting.

Good News in Veterans Care – July

Please join us for our next gathering:

WhenSaturday 11th August 2018
Time10:00am – 1.00pm (includes lunch)
Where: Mates4Mates – Douglas Street Milton

Dear Sandra,

We have much to be grateful for, as we enter into the second half of 2018. A full update on what we’ve achieved, and where we are going will be provided at our gathering on 11Aug,
but the highlights are:

• The qualitative evaluation of TA6 has been completed by Michael Stone and our Consultant Psychologist Chris Hully. It’s an impressive read. See it here

 

• The Australian Veterans Scholarship Scheme, (an inspiration of Michael Stone), for education of children of Timorese veterans has so far raised $11,700. Thank you donors . Giving is good for your health! Get involved – see www.timorawakening.com

 

• Veteran Marty Kruck raised $12,000 for VCA in his epic 1681 km “41 for 41” walk around the Redlands. Thank you Marty for honouring our fallen and supporting the work of VCA.

• Veteran and Knights of Southern Cross member, Mike Harris, gathered 170 people and raised $2,400 for VCA in a Trivia night, in conjunction with Australian American Association and Camp Hill Catholic parish. Thanks Mike.

• On a short notice invitation from Timorese Govt , Michael Stone has organised a 12 person Commemorative tour in Timor 13-22 Aug to celebrate Falantil Day (similar to Anzac Day) open memorials in Ossu honoring Aussies and Timorese who fought in this area in WW2, and do some voluntary construction work at the Lohuno Veterans retreat. Representatives from each of the TA groups will attend. Thanks to RSL QLD for funding this.

• A 29 person TA7 Group will be in Timor 9-9 Sep. Thanks to Bolton Clark , RSL QLD and Aust Commando Assn for funding this.

• Extensive filming with VCA staff and members was completed for Bolton Clark’s Veterans family toolkit, video series. We look forward to its launch in coming months.

• VCA had made a submission to DVA review of advocacy support. See our VCA website for the detail. We are calling for the employment of paid welfare and pensions advocates.

Many, many more individual interactions – coaching sessions, education talks, pastoral care etc. have and continue to occur in the midst of all these events, and much administrative support from our committee members underpins all of this. Thanks to all who contribute.

The bottom line is that we are veterans caring for veterans. Yes we do this because we care. We are also inspired by the message of Jesus who once proclaimed :

“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 downtrodden free, and proclaim the Lords favour.” Luke 4:16-19.

All of these outcomes are being fulfilled in what we together are doing.

May god bless you all.

Your Padre, Gary
Veterans Care Association Inc
Holistic Care for of Body Mind & Soul for Veterans, Families & Carers

New Awakenings for Veterans and their Families

For the past few years the Veterans Care Association (VCA), based in Brisbane, have been working on front line veteran rehabilitation, supporting many hundreds of clients and their families. VCA’s tactical objective is to improve the health and wellbeing of the veterans they engage with daily, but their strategic objective has been to model and improve the systemic way Veterans Health is managed, moving it from the current “treating sickness” model to a “promoting wellness” model. All of the core VCA team are seasoned veterans and committed Christians who have experienced the good and bad of what is currently on offer snd they have cobbled together a best practice veteran friendly service.

Chaplain Gary Stone, a veteran of some 47 years service, ( 8/9 RAR , 6RAR , 1RAR ) and his son Michael, a veteran of 20 years service ( 2 RAR, 8/9 RAR) , lead a group of veteran clinicians and peer support carers engaging ill and injured veterans in peer support, encouragement, holistic health education, and life coaching. Gary says , “Frankly, veterans are not responding well to the so called “Gold standard” of medication and cognitive/exposure therapy. At a recent Post Traumatic Stress conference in Brisbane it was reported that 1/3 of veterans are actually getting worse from the clinical treatments they are getting. All the clients VCA are seeing are making significant improvements, as they open up and respond to fellow veterans, who encourage them.”

VCA currently provides a comprehensive peer support, health and wellbeing education programme, engaging disengaged veterans and educating them about health and wellbeing possibilities and/ or getting them into clinical therapy before they become acute cases requiring hospitalisation. They utilise a front line team of chaplains and peer supporters-all very experienced former military officers , and a second row of Doctors, Nurses, Psychologists, and Social workers who advise both staff and clients.

The central message VCA offers to veterans is that they can live much healthier lives if they deliberately give attention to nurturing their body, mind and soul , as well as living with a positive life purpose. Soul nurture, including healing for moral injury is the missing ingredient in all other rehab programmes on offer in Australia. To drive home the potential and importance of faith, the VCA team takes participants to Timor, where they hear the amazing stories of the Timorese who were victorious against all odds, with faith in God as their underpinning hope.

Designed and developed by Michael Stone, VCA’s Flagship activity is a 9 month “Timor Awakening” (TA) rehabilitation program, involving 3 months preparation, a 12 day immersion in Timor along with Timorese veterans and a 6 month follow up period. VCA have conducted five of these programmes with 125 participants and support of 20 veteran volunteer staff members, and are preparing for two more programmes in 2018. In Timor they get a “mountaintop experience’ – a circuit breaker awakening that their lives can improve , and they find new purpose and identity.

The detailed evaluation data VCA have collected and had externally analyzed by clinical psychologists and medical officers, presents solid evidence that the program is significantly reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression in all participants, and conversely improving quality of life. These results are being sustained over the long term, through regular follow up, and the participation by many participants in “Life Coaching” offered by veteran Michael Albrecht.

TA alumni are engaging and assisting with ESO (especially RSL) and are making positive contributions to the veteran community and society. Noteworthy is the case of TA 2 participant, 15 year navy veteran Kerri Howie who has recently given public testimony in the Catholic Leader newspaper (circulation 33,000 nationwide) of her coming to VCA in a state of deep depression and drug addiction, and subsequent to TA has been rehabilitated and has returned to Timor walking 160 km from Dili to Betano conducting a health clinic in every village en route. “I’m now inspired. I have purpose. I feel alive and I look forward to many opportunities ahead”- Kerri.

Another significant outcome has been the mutual support given to the Timorese veterans and Government of Timor in progressing veteran support initiatives. The recently elected Prime Minister Mari Alkitiri hosted the TA5 group in his office, and heard first hand from VCA staff on what his Government could be doing to enhance veteran support. This occurred simultaneously with the Governments release of a 40 min documentary on the TA experience that has been shown nationally in Timor. VCA have produced the following short videos on Youtube and currently working on a professional documentary with interviews of participants.


Timor Awakening Commandos Return October 2017 Introduction Video (2 Minutes)


Timor Awakening 5 General Video (5 Mins)

VCA wishes to continue to offer TA experiences. They have more applicants than they can support, but their capacity for veteran support is significantly diminished by the time an effort they must put into fund raising. The programmes delivered to date have been made possible largely through the Sponsorship of RSL Qld and RSL Care – now known as Bolton Clarke. Further sponsorships and donations are most welcome.

Michael Stone says, “Defence has given many of us extensive training in leadership, training and development, to be able to design and deliver these programmes, and healing our struggling veterans is an honourable task for us veterans to be engaged in. Experienced veterans can care for younger veterans in ways that civilian clinicians can’t. Younger veterans trust us and can be led into new lives because they know we understand them and we care. The deepest issues for veterans are not psychiatric-they relate to identity, purpose and connection with God and others. We can offer the empowerment for these to be rediscovered and realized.”

Comprehensive information on this work is available at www.veteranscare.com.au

Gary Stone
President
Veterans Care Association

Gary served 25 years as an infantry officer in the Army, before ordination as a married
Deacon in 1994. Since then he has served as an army and police chaplain, has led extensive
humanitarian ministries in Timor Leste, and is now chaplain to the ex service community in
SEQLD. Gary has been married to Lynne for over 43 years and they have four adult children
and three grandchildren.

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

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