A Nasho and Legatee has become one of the first people in the Tamworth area to receive a Ministerial Commendation for his “service above and beyond”.
Tamworth Legacy president Greg Roese received his award from NSW Veterans Affairs Minister David Elliott this morning.
He said he was accepting it “on behalf of the other Legatees that support our widows and families within Legacy”.
“Some are service personnel but a lot aren’t; they just believe in the ideals of Legacy.”
The award was made at a gathering of veterans and representatives from RSL, National Servicemen’s Association and Legacy at Tamworth Railway War Memorial Park.
Mr Roese said it was hard to recall just how long he’d been a member of the charity organisation; he thought about 30 years.
But the Vietnam veteran certainly knows why he joined.
“I lost a mate at the Battle of Coral,” he said.
“He was only newly married, and I found out a bit later that Legacy was actually supporting his wife, and that’s when I became a member. He was 22 and I think she was a year younger.”
He also recalls how it was with the support of a young Vietnam vets’ group in Leeton, where he was living at the time.
“It took me awhile,” he said.
“I guess, as part of the aftermath of the Vietnam War, I didn’t want to be seen, didn’t want to do anything; but they encouraged me to come out of my shell and help others in the community, and that’s how I got involved with Legacy.”
To the future
Mr Roese said the organisation had broadened its charter some years ago to help the families of living veterans.
“Even though the veteran may still be alive, he could well be suffering from PTSD or be in a situation where he has difficulty helping his family,” he said.
“We always take the attitude that particularly young veterans’ children should be assisted as best as possible, to make up for lots of things they lose as being part of a veteran’s family.”
Mr Roese said the Legacy branch had been in talks with Tamworth Young Veterans “to find out those families that need assistance early, rather than later”.
He said the ongoing public support for Legacy was “quite remarkable, actually”.
Unfortunately, the local money raised during the recent Legacy Week was down about 50 per cent on last year – but he said that was to be expected in the drought.
“We’re certainly grateful for what we do get,” he said.
Mr Elliott and Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson also announced an $1800 grant to the Tamworth RSL Sub-branch to freshen up the Tamworth Boer War Memorial on Marius Street.
“This year is the centenary of the Armistice, signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, to end the world war that cost Australia so many young and daring men,” Mr Elliott said.
“This memorial carries on the important work we do to honour our servicemen and women, both past and present.”