People We Help
Adrian was in the Air Force for 22 years; it offered him the opportunity to do something mechanical, security and travel. The recruiter that came to his high school was an Airframe fitter by trade and Adrian joined up a year after high school and followed in his footsteps, also becoming an Airframe fitter.
Agnes enlisted with the Army at the age of 23 following in her brother’s footsteps. She served with the Royal Australian Corp of Transport for six years, and during her service she was deployed to East Timor and the Middle East. These experiences will stay with her forever.
Alfred’s return to civilian life was difficult. He returned when he became ill cancer and was unable to continue working. Alfred’s wife cares for him and in addition she cares for their daughter who has Multiple Sclerosis.
Anthony moved to Australia with his wife and daughter following an 18-year career in the South African Air Force.
Recently, Anthony and his family travelled to Sydney so both his daughters could undergo tests and treatment at the Children’s Hospital. Struggling financially, they could not afford accommodation for the few nights they needed and unfortunately Ronald McDonald House was fully booked.
Cecil loved every minute of his time with the Army. He loved the companionship, the mateship, social activities outside the services and the fact that everyone looked after each another. Cecil rose to the rank of Sergeant of his platoon.
Earlier this year Claire and her fiancé, an officer in the Navy set off on a couple of weeks holiday before he deployed overseas. Claire had just taken a redundancy from her job. During their holiday, Claire was involved in an accident and her knee was badly injured. She was told surgery and a year-long recovery at least was ahead of her.
Clive McCall and his wife Catherine Joy courted for three years after Clive came back from WWII. The couple were married for 63 years and had five children, 13 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Sadly, Clive passed away on 3 September 2013. He was 88 years old.
Craig was a soldier in the Army, serving in both East Timor and Iraq on deployment. He was a member of the Australian Army for over 7 years, so was his family.
Craig’s PTS, has had a huge impact on the family. He cannot work and his wife is the primary income earner, working full time.
As a father David would do anything to support his son, one of his three children.
His son struggles regularly with his mental health, which can also at times be a battle for David, his father and carer. At the time we met David, his son was in danger of losing a limb to a terrible infection. He was unable to continue living outside of hospital walls to battle this illness.
Since leaving the Army, David has found it difficult to adjust back to civilian life. For many years he has struggled with physical injuries and mental ill-health. He has also experienced significant instability in employment, moving regularly in and out of a variety of jobs.
Dean was raised on a property in western NSW. Originally he was a brick layer and plumber’s labourer; Dean didn’t consider his job steady, due to the reliance on weather conditions and work availability. A newspaper advertisement inviting people to join the Navy was found by his mum, and looked to be great way to start a career. So off to Brisbane Dean went for recruitment and never looked back since.
Derek was born in Scotland but enlisted in the Navy soon after becoming an Australian citizen. He loved his time in the Navy and would do it all again – the most difficult thing was leaving behind his wife of 23 years. Prior to enlisting, they had only ever been apart for a week.
At 24, Emily was medically discharged from the Navy following persistent hip and back pain that resulted from her role as a medic. Emily experienced injury and pain at various stages throughout her career as a result of heavy training and carrying significant loads. She also suffered a severe fall on stairs on a ship.
When WWII veteran Eric Geddes decided to give RSL DefenceCare a call, he did not expect to receive the help he was given and the improvement to his quality of life. At the age of 95, the humble hero lives alone and suffers from cataracts, macular degeneration, sleep apnoea and lives on a limited pension payment.
In June 2010 a helicopter crash caused multiple injuries for 2 Commando Sergeant Garry Robinson: a traumatic brain injury, broken ribs, a broken lower spine, dislocated and broken hip, fractured leg and internal bleeding.
Geoff Evans has post-traumatic stress (PTS) and physical wounds from being blown into the air when his Bushmaster-armoured vehicle ran over a road mine in Afghanistan. His brain suffered a severe traumatic injury from his head being violently shaken. It led him to be medically discharged - the day after he was promoted to lieutenant.
65 year old Vietnam veteran, George has cardiac disease and advanced Multiple Sclerosis. For most of his later life he has been confined to an electric wheelchair and for over a decade, was cared for in nursing homes in Dubbo in central NSW.
Graeme served for almost 20 years in South East Asia and the Pacific in the Royal Australian Navy. He was discharged suffering from a mood disorder. Looking back, Graeme recalls how serving his country impacted on his family and his own mental health.
Hannah’s career in the Royal Australian Navy has led her on many journeys, including a struggle with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), major Depression and PTSD. RSL DefenceCare has been able to assist Hannah along the way with support during treatment, as well as helping with her Entitlements’ claim.
Jason had to leave the Australian Defence Force due to a training injury. His wife was diagnosed with a brain tumour and he now cares for both his wife and their children. We helped with dental surgery for one of the children and continue to help when the expenses of family life become too great.
John had a long career in the Army, spanning twenty-six years. From the time he was in primary school he always wanted to join the Army and his enthusiasm to be involved took him to several different countries.
Upon returning home from service John recalled that it was “anti-climactic and strange, I felt strange and it took a while to go away”. As time passed John’s mental state became increasingly unstable.
Colin served in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) from the age of sixteen, keen to get stuck in and serve his country. 40 years later, alcohol abuse and depression left Colin and his wife Julie on the brink of giving up.
After 19 years in the Navy, Lachlan was medically discharged as a result of issues from his service in Iraq. Returning to country NSW with his wife, Lachlan was recently helped by RSL DefenceCare following the impact of bush fire, excessive rain and then drought.
Michael was in the Navy for 15 years, before he was medically discharged. There was a lot of distress and anxiety about his upcoming departure and Michael’s wife was sick with stress and worry. With three young children at home, their concern was around income upon discharge and the loss of their defence support network.
Neale is a 93-year-old WWII veteran who served in the Army 2/1 Artillery Medium Regiment.
Back home, Neale was posted to Cowra barracks. While serving food in a mess hall to POW’s, Neale was attacked and knocked unconscious. The injuries sustained continued to affect Neale and he began having blackouts.
Neville was an infantry solider in the Australian Army and served multiple tours of duty in Timor between 1998 and 2005. During his time in Timor, Neville helped maintain Australia’s peacekeeping operations.
Like many veterans, Neville returned home unsure of how to once again settle into civilian life.
Following in her grandfather’s footsteps, Nicole joined the Defence Force with a sense of pride. She wanted to honour her grandfather’s memory and was fortunate enough to travel to Papua New Guinea on deployment, not far from where her grandfather had served during WWII – the Kokoda Track.
Nicole spent seven years in the Royal Australian Air Force in both the air and fuel movements. There were some incredible highs and devastating lows for Nicole during this time.
Paul was deployed for eight months in Afghanistan and suffers from extensive injuries including post-traumatic stress as a result of his service.
His subsequent depression has affected the whole family and they are struggling. In addition, his wife is unwell and his two teenage children have also suffered as a result.
During his time in the Army, Paul trained for air dispatch and road transport employment. He was also fortunate enough to be selected for a prestigious two-year exchange program in Fort Lee, Virginia.
Melinda’s father Peter served in Australian Army, A & B Squadron and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment. His classification was “Trooper” but he drove APC’s.
Peter’s step-father was in the Australian Army in his younger days and was a member of the “Rats of Tobruk”. Melinda believes that this was her father’s inspiration to join the Army - to make his father proud and serve his country.
When Robin left the Navy, everything went off the rails. He found it difficult to adjust to civilian life, with multiple admissions to hospital for PTSD and a significant decline in his overall health.
Shane was in the Army for 20 years, motivated to join by childhood dreams. As an 18 year old he had always wanted to be a soldier and did not see anything else in his future. Shane wanted to experience the challenge and defend the Australian way of life.
Shannon discharged from the Army in 2006. After struggling in civilian life for some time, the walls came crashing down in Christmas 2009. By mid-2010 Shannon was unemployed and in his words, unemployable.
Tom joined the Royal Australian Navy at the age of nineteen and served for six years as an electrical technician. Adjusting back into civilian life for Tom included a mixture of both good and bad times.
Warren’s journey through life was a struggle. Warren joined the Army at 18 and spent two years in full-time service that included two tours of Vietnam. He then spent many subsequent years in the Army reserves and was well respected.