FESTIVE JOY FOR TROOPS
Veterans give back to our troops
WHILE the rest of the world celebrates the festive season, Len Thompson knows too well the harsh reality of spending Christmas Day in a war zone.
Huddled in the Vietnam bush in 1969, the veteran said it was “just another day” until he received a thoughtful care package from his local RSL.
It was this first-hand experience that moved Mr Thompson to volunteer his time alongside the Maroochydore RSL in its annual care package drop for defence personnel.
About 10 volunteers packed 40 special boxes on Monday, ready to be shipped to troops across the Middle East, North Africa and the South Pacific for those who couldn’t make it home on Christmas Day.
Maroochydore RSL veteran services manager Mark Reading said the packages were a small way of thanking those who made the sacrifice for their country.
“I’ve also been a recipient of care packages and you do feel that extra smile on your face when you open them,” Mr Reading said.
In its fifth year of operation, the 2018 Australian-themed packages contain Vegemite, Tic Tacs, Uncle Toby’s snacks, Life Savers and other items, including hygiene and reading materials.
“We are bringing Australia to them,” Mr Reading said.
Mr Thompson said although he didn’t remember what was in his care package, he would never forget the way it made him feel.
“It really does make a difference,” he said.
“I was just blown away.
“I didn’t realise they even knew I was over there.”
The Maroochydore RSL funds and packs care packages twice a year to be sent to Australian defence personnel right around the globe.
FESTIVE SPIRIT: Maroochy RSL staff, including Sorelle Goulding, and volunteers pack Christmas care packages to send to Australian troops serving overseas.