Peace be with you! So many good developments have occurred in recent months. I hope that this news will bring joy to your hearts and satisfaction knowing that we are improving the lives of veterans, their families and those who support them. Progress is being made in all our objective areas. Our membership base is increasing. Our sphere of influence is growing across the range of provider groups in the Veterans. But best of all Veterans and their family members are being encouraged, growing in hope and empowered to take steps to improve their lives though education in holistic health. Despite invitations to broaden our work into other areas of community need I have been careful to focus my time on our target objective areas.
Pastoral care to veterans and their families continues as a priority. Generally this is offered in triage mode, listening to peoples stories, affirming them in Hope, offering them resource information, praying for them, and referring them to appropriate specialists. In due course we would hope to utilise our own pastoral carers to mentor people though their healing journey. I continue to spend Wednesdays at Nerang Veterans Support Centre.
Engagement with those supporting vets has involved meetings with senior staff at RSL QLD, Mates 4 mates, more RSL sub branches at the Gold Coast, Federal and State members of Govt, RSL Care and Knights of the Southern Cross. The submission we provided to the Senate Inquiry into Veterans Health has been widely circulated among the veteran groups, and has received positive endorsement. I have assisted and spoken at Korean War and Kokoda commemorative events where Vets gathered.
Providing education on holistic health has involved 2 deliveries at Soldier Recovery Centre Enoggera (20 at each) , 4 presentations to Junior Leaders Course Enoggera (60 at each session) presentations to B and C Companies 25/49 RQR (120), Nerang Library-Vets spouses (10), Brunswick Heads and Mullumbimby Catholic parishes ( 150). Most significantly a 6 member Vets Care team presented at a day long women’s veterans forum at Kedron Wavell RSL( 150 present), and I participated as a mentor and presented in a week long Veterans Rehabilitation programme called Trojans Trek in August (20). People are fascinated and engaged by my illustration of the legs of the stool that need to be in place to support a healthy and holistic lifestyle.
Duntroon to Dili has been in continued demand with 700 books now gifted or sold to individuals and kindred organisations. Numerous affirmations have come in that it has helped people understand what’s happening in themselves or their family members. The biggest appreciation has come from family members who find it an encouragement that healing and rehabilitation is In the administrative support area, Treasurer Geoff Fry and Secretary Rob Vicary have worked to get the association registered with the Australian National Charities Commission and as Public Benevolent Institution and as a Deductible Gift Recipient with Australian Tax Office making donations to VCAI tax deductible. This is a significant achievement which required a comprehensive presentation of our activity and Govt endorsement of our programme. I’m also grateful to Rob Vicary for his work with Sandra in developing a Veterans care website, which should go live shortly.
New members including veterans Dr Andrew Burke, Paul Randall, ex physiologist Russell Jones have joined us. Approaches I have made to RSL Care and Knights of the Southern Cross to support the meeting of ministry costs/expenses involving car operation, phone, internet, computer, printing and professional development, have been fruitful with KSC confirming a $4000 donation and RSL Care offering $30,000.
The next major involvement is to prepare for and participate in the International PTSD forum in Brisbane September. Planning is also underway to assist with EX Stone Pillow – Homeless vets sleep out in Dorrington Park on 17 October. Cpl Elena Rowland is leading this. Presentations are planned for two KSC groups, Northern NSW St Vincent de Paul annual conference, Burleigh Heads parish, North Coast RSL sub Branch, RAR Assn National Conference and more groups at Soldier Recovery Centre and Junior Leaders Course.
Thanks you for your support and interest. This is truly a work of charity and love by a team of caring Christian people. God delights in what we are doing, and many veterans and their families are benefitting. Please pray for this ministry, and for our members. We are in a battleground and need mutual support to sustain us.
Our Leadership team meets next, on Monday 16 November, at 730 pm, at Rob Vicary’s house at 26a Yallamurra St, The Gap. You are welcome to join us.
May God bless you – Gary Stone.