Still serv­ing his na­tion

Weekend Courier - - Front Page - Gabrielle Jeffery

THE wel­fare of for­mer ser­vice per­son­nel is what drives ex-Com­man­der Richard Usher.

The De­fence Force Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent, of Shoal­wa­ter, was awarded the Medal of the Or­der of Aus­tralia for ser­vice to the wel­fare of vet­er­ans.

“I was very sur­prised; I have ab­so­lutely no idea who nom­i­nated me and I’ll give them a ‘what for’ when I do find out,” Mr Usher said.

“I’m ex-navy and I was al­ways told loy­alty goes both ways, up and down. There are so many oth­ers who de­serve recog­ni­tion.”

The big­gest group he cur­rently helps are ex­per­son­nel who served in the Mid­dle East and Viet­nam.

“Some of these were in­volved with F-11s and the fu­elling is­sues those jets had,” he said.

“It’s left a chem­i­cal legacy af­fect­ing many and we help them put claims in to the Depart­ment of Vet­eran Af­fairs.”

Mr Usher said one case stood out among the many he had worked on.

“There was an exarmy man who was putting him­self through a law de­gree at univer­sity,” he said.

“His wife had just had her sec­ond baby in the last se­mes­ter of his de­gree and there was no money com­ing in.

“They were find­ing things re­ally dif­fi­cult and he was about to leave his study.

“We got him a grant and paid his mort­gage for two months and he was able to com­plete his de­gree.

“He is now work­ing as a lawyer.”

He said his fo­cus of late had been work­ing with Whiskey’s Wish, a group that trains pup­pies to be as­sis­tance dogs for per­son­nel with post-trau­matic stress.

Richard Usher is very happy to be recog­nised.

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