Stead­fast sup­port recog­nised

Wanneroo Times - - News - Laura Pond

SHIRLY Mooney’s sup­port for fel­low wid­ows and fam­i­lies of Aus­tralian De­fence Force veter­ans over three decades has earned her one of the na­tion’s high­est honours.

The Duncraig res­i­dent was awarded the Medal of the Or­der of Aus­tralia, an­nounced by Gov­er­nor-Gen­eral Peter Cos­grove yes­ter­day.

Mrs Mooney has been in­volved with many mil­i­tary-re­lated sup­port ser­vices, in­clud­ing be­ing a wel­fare of­fice for the Aus­tralian Spe­cial Air Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion since 1993, the De­fence Force Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion’s De­fence Wid­ows Group con­venor since 1999, a trea­surer, wel­fare and pen­sions of­fi­cer at Indige­nous and Tor­res Straits Veter­ans WA for five years and as for­mer pres­i­dent of the Royal Aus­tralian Army Nurs­ing Corps As­so­ci­a­tion.

She started nurs­ing school at age 16 and then joined the army to fin­ish her train­ing.

Mrs Mooney was au­to­mat­i­cally dis­charged from ser­vice when she got mar­ried in 1958.

She re­turned to nurs­ing in 1970 at Hol­ly­wood Pri­vate Hospi­tal, then the Repa­tri­a­tion Gen­eral Hospi­tal, for re­turned ser­vice mem­bers, where she worked in di­ag­nos­tics ra­di­ol­ogy.

Here she no­ticed a large num­ber of men re­turn­ing from the Viet­nam War with ill­ness, which she at­trib­uted to Agent Orange.

Mrs Mooney also ex­pe­ri­enced a lack of sup­port for her hus­band, who strug­gled af­ter leav­ing the Spe­cial Air Ser­vice Reg­i­ment.

“My hus­band was very ill when he re­tired from the ser­vices and he got ab­so­lutely no as­sis­tance what­so­ever,” she said.

“When he died (in 1991) I got even less,” she said.

“I thought if I can pre­vent this in a small way, I would not see an­other fam­ily go through this.”

She com­pleted cour­ses about wel­fare and pen­sion plans to as­sist veter­ans and their fam­i­lies, which she has been do­ing for the past nearly 30 years.

Mrs Mooney was ini­tially re­luc­tant to ac­cept the hon­our but did not want to dis­ap­point those who nom­i­nated her.

“I be­lieve you vol­un­teer be­cause you want to and not for self­grat­i­fi­ca­tion,” she said.

Pic­ture: Marie Nirme

Shirly Mooney has been hon­oured with the Or­der of the Medal of Aus­tralia for her faith­ful sup­port of wid­ows and De­fence Force fam­i­lies. www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d470241

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