Finley RSL Auxiliary hosts Riverina conf.
For the first time, Finley RSL Women’s Auxiliary hosted a Country Conference, which attracted various members of Riverina-based RSL Sub-Branches and their supporting Women’s Auxiliaries.
Held at the Finley RS Club on Wednesday last week, about 60 guests listened to reports from various people, including Country Council Women’s Auxiliary president Pauline James and Southern Riverina Councillor for RSL Sub-Branches Allan Hutchings.
They spoke on the importance of Women’s Auxiliaries and offered practical advice and tips for fundraising and donating.
Mrs James also brought along six remarkable ANZAC Centenary quilts made by auxiliary members from around the state, as part of a national tour.
One quilt in particular — ‘The Gallipoli Quilt’ — was described by Mrs James as priceless, as it had travelled to Gallipoli on Anzac Day this year for the dawn service to mark 100 years since the first ANZACs.
Guest speaker on the day was Defence Care general manager Robyn Collins who delivered an important message about the ongoing need to support returned war veterans.
‘‘We give ongoing support to current and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force and their families in times of injury, illness and crisis,’’ she said.
‘‘We even help people around the Finley area and it’s really important people are aware of our services. In 2014, we got 4195 calls for help, which is double the year before.
‘‘This says to us that ‘yes, these people are in need and a lot are in crisis physically and mentally who have served in wars including Afghanistan and Iraq’. We need to support them any way we can as defence is a high-risk career physically and mentally.’’
Finley returned serviceman Matt Maw, who served in Timor from 2000-01 and Afghanistan in 2006 supported Mrs Collins’ call to action.
He said blending back into everyday civilisation can be extremely difficult, saying he eventually reached out to the Department of Veterans Affairs for assistance after struggling to do so.
‘‘It’s a long road to come back and fall into normal life. The DVA are really helpful and I encourage anyone who needs support to reach out and ask for help,’’ he said.
‘‘Sadly, last year about 12 people who served in these recent wars committed suicide, which is a terrible thought.’’
The Finley RSL Women’s Auxiliary only re-formed six months ago after being in recess for 10 years.
It was a delight to see two life members of the Finley Auxiliary on the day — sisters Marj Kable and Betty Bevan — who originally joined on June 8, 1948.
Finley RSL Women’s Auxiliary president Karen Peacock, CCWA president Pauline James and Finley RSL Women’s Auxiliary life member Betty Bevan with her handcrafted wreath.
Finley RSL Women’s Auxiliary life members and sisters Marj Kable and Betty Bevan and CCWA president Pauline James.
Finley ex-serviceman Matt Maw and DefenceCare general manager Robyn Collins.