Resilience 2018 Raises $159,000 For Local Veterans

The Veterans Centre Sydney Nothern Beaches staff knew that, after the incredible success of the Inaugural Resilience fundraiser in 2017, it was always going to be a hard act to follow. However, because of the generous organisations and individuals who contributed, a total of $159,000 was raised at the 2nd annual event in April. These much-needed funds will go towards supporting current and former servicemen, servicewomen and their families.

Dee Why RSL Club is the major partner of the Centre and deeply committed to supporting veterans on the Northern Beaches and beyond. The Board and Club executives have never forgotten the Club’s roots, assisting military veterans, which has resulted in the Club providing more than $1 million worth of support since inception in 2015.

The Resilience event was held at the Club with Mr Ray Martin AM as Master of Ceremonies, and it gave 300 attendees significant insight into the struggles of our veterans. Dee Why RSL Club CEO and Centre Director Grant Easterby addressed the audience and highlighted the progress made because of the support given at last year’s event, followed by  Brig Michael Griffin AM, the new Chairman of the Centre. Brig. Griffin spoke of the pride he felt in joining the organisation, thanking the founders for their vision and emphasising that the Centre has two non-negotiable principles:

“Firstly, a respectful environment; staff, volunteers, clients or visitors treat each other with respect, and secondly, confidentiality must always be protected. Given the upheaval in the ex-service organisations, all funds raised will go directly into supporting our veteran community.”

The Vice-Regal Patron of the Centre; His Excellency  General The Honourable, David Hurley AC DSC (Retired), Governor of NSW and Mrs Hurley were kind enough to pass on a message of support, “In thanking the Veterans Centre, Linda and I would also like to thank the local community and service providers for supporting this outstanding model of community service to returned servicemen and women and their families.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also sent a personal message of support that was read to the audience by The Hon Jason Falinski, MP.

To give the audience further insight into the struggles that injured military personnel face, Ray Martin interviewed Ben Webb,  Afghanistan veteran and Manager of the Veterans Centre, as well as Adrian Talbot, former Royal Marine Commando and Executive Manager of Narrabeen’s Homes for Heroes. Both Ben and Adrian told of their personal struggles with chronic health while in the military, and the subsequent difficult transition back to civilian life.

Ben recalls, “Looking back, I could recognise my descent to a very bad place. Due to the injuries I sustained, I had been living in pain for years. I would hit a low, then recover, hit a lower and longer low, recover, and so on for years. I did this until I was emotionally dead, and a year later I broke – reaching the point of suicide. The recovery took years; however, I am much better and stronger for doing this.”

Adrian shared similar personal experiences and went on to say, “after years and years of Australians going to war, we are still not very good at addressing the human needs of the veterans and their families upon their return. If you reach out early you can get the help and education so that the issues do not become generational. We have an amazing community of people and professionals who can assist with recovery and the transition back into the civilian world. Get in touch.”

“The Board of Directors and staff of the Centre give their sincere thanks to all the organisations and individuals who provided goods and services, auction and raffle prizes to make this event such a success. We are incredibly grateful.” Michael Griffin, Chair of the Veterans Centre.

The Veterans Centre is located on level 4 of the Club.