Chaplain ‘gift-boxed’ by RSL

TAMWORTH RSL Sub-branch has thanked its “guiding light” with a special gift.

OVERWHELMING GIFT: Tamworth RSL chaplain Father Tom Shanahan gets the special handmade wooden box from sub-branch president Bob Chapman. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 290614GOA01

OVERWHELMING GIFT: Tamworth RSL chaplain Father Tom Shanahan gets the special handmade wooden box from sub-branch president Bob Chapman. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 290614GOA01

The organisation has begun a tradition of giving those nearest and dearest to it special wooden boxes locally made by Noel Knight.

On Sunday, the organisation presented Father Tom Shanahan with the second wooden box, which rendered him speechless.

“The sub-branch believes you are well and truly worthy of one of our special boxes,” sub-branch president Bob Chapman said.

“We look up to you and see you as our guiding light.”

The box is adorned with the Chaplain Corps badge, the Vietnam War ribbon and lined with purple felt – the chaplains’ colour.

Father Shanahan, who served in Vietnam as a chaplain, said he was overwhelmed by the gift.

“I had no idea I would get one of these boxes,” he said.

“I really find it difficult to find suitable words. I do what I do and I love it. 

“I love to just be associated with the sub-branch.”

Father Shanahan said it was an acknowledgement of service to his country.

“Chaplains have always been where our service people are,” he said.

“I used to say to them in Vietnam when they asked me why I was there,  I told them ‘you’re here, that’s why I’m here’.”

Father Shanahan said he would keep his medals and memorabilia including his major’s crown in the box.

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