Steven and Suzie
For Steven, life after service at such a young age hadn’t crossed his mind. Unfortunately, when a serious back injury rendered him totally and permanently incapacitated (TPI), that was his reality.
In 1998 Steven joined the Navy. Having previously worked as a butcher, he wanted to add more meaning to his career and serve his country. In 2005, Steven transferred across to the Army, carving out what he hoped would be a lifetime career.
Steven loved his time in both the Navy and Army; opportunities that took him all over the world, including places like South Korea, the Middle East and the Philippines. Unfortunately, in 2012, at not even 35-years-of-age, Steven sustained a serious back injury and was determined TPI.
The transition back to civilian life was extremely difficult for Steven and his wife Suzie. Suzie spent a lot of time worrying while Steven was on deployment; the uncertainty that surrounds being the partner of an ADF member was not easy to deal with. However, things became much more difficult when Steven was medically discharged and Suzie was forced to quit her job and become a full-time carer. Having spent 14-years developing his career, Steven felt an acute loss of identity returning to civilian life; unable to work and struggling with chronic pain, there was little keeping him motivated.
Earlier this year, with bills mounting and both their daughters quite sick, Steven and Suzie made the decision to relocate to Victoria. However, they were caught in the difficult position of being unable to afford their home in Sydney, but also unable to pay for removalists.
When Suzie reached out for help she was referred to RSL DefenceCare, who initially helped with shopping vouchers and payment of some energy bills. This alleviated significant stress for Steven and Suzie as they planned their move. We also assisted with some of the removalist costs to help Steven and Suzie relocate. They were then given contact details for RSL Victoria so that they had someone to reach out to once they arrived at their new home interstate.
Suzie thanked RSL DefenceCare for the support and assistance – “it removed a lot of stress; we wouldn’t have been able to complete the move without your help. We loved where we lived, and removing the financial pressure made the move a little more positive”.
Steven and Suzie are working through the pressures of everyday life and are grateful to have had some burdens eased while they raise their daughters. Steven’s message to any other struggling veteran is “reach out, even though it can be hard, it really makes a difference”.
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