From our Veterans Care Association formation meeting on 29 June we have been operating on a number of fronts simultaneously. Direct pastoral care to veterans has been a task Gary has engaged in, visiting vets in hospital, mainly with cancer, but also meeting them in their gathering events at RSL subbranches, Corps Associations, and conducting memorial services.
Most Veterans present with multiple, body mind and soul wounds, and Gary’s explanation of the need for holistic health to promote wellbeing gets many heads nodding.
Engagement with those supporting vets has involved meetings with the Qld commissioner for DVA, Alison Stanley, State Pres RSL Terry Meehan , all Mates4mates staff, and Premier Campbell Newman, Military Brotherhood and with various RAR associations.
The concept of holistic care is known to them but getting spiritual/pastoral inputs into current programs will take time as some practitioners/service providers will not move out of their space (or reject the notion of the value of the spiritual).
Providing education on holistic health has been Gary’s passion and presentations have been delivered to current serving Army groups at Enoggera and Canungra, Military Brotherhood, The Gap and Samford RSL, Shed Happens, Mates4Mates and S African Vets assn.
Gary’s book Duntroon to Dili has been launched on 28 Sep by Archbishop Mark Coleridge at a wonderful function organised by VCAI members and 320 books have been gifted or sold to individuals and kindred organisations, with Brisbane and state libraries ordering 12 as well.
The book has been a great intro and pastoral outreach.
Numerous affirmations have come in that it has helped people understand what’s happening in themselves or their family members. A Vietnam vet who bought the book approached Gary after reading it and told him, “ For 40 years I have struggled with PTSD but your story has introduced me and challenged me to explore the missing ingredient in my life – FAITH.
“You’ve got it and I now want it!” Gary reminds us that battles are won by tactics, but campaigns are won by Logistics.
In the support area, Treasurer Geoff Fry and Secretary Rob Vicary, have done massive amounts of paperwork to get the association incorporated and registered ( No IA42264) and have charitable tax deductible donation status (CH2629). We have a budget developed and Westpac BSB 034034 account 324703 which we hope people will want to provide a monthly direct debit into, to support the meeting of ministry costs/expenses involving car operation, phone, internet, computer, printing and professional development, which are costing Gary approx $250 per week/$1000 per month.
There are also some one off set up costs of a new laptop and printer needed to replace the Defence ones Gary has been using. We have developed membership and donation forms which Secretary Rob will distribute.
Various administrative assistance, finance and prayer support has been provided by Tony Grlj, Peter Devenish Meares, Bruce Bonney, John and Gaye Hull, Phil and Robyn Locke and others. Thanks friends, your support is really appreciated. Future activities will involve more pastoral, provider engagement and educational ministry and developing our funding base. Gary has received 4 speaking engagements for Feb and an invitation from Mates4 Mates to be Chaplain for a wounded veterans Big battlefield bicycle ride in France in June.
In parallel with this Gary and Lynne vacate their Gap house on 26 Nov and relocate to the Gold Coast in temporary accommodation until their new residence at Clagiraba is ready in April 2015.