Updated: Mar 1, 2022
On Friday I met with Jo who is an Army Veteran and dedicated Legatee. Jo is a passionate advocate for all Veterans including Veterans of our Emergency Services and their families.
I first met Jo over a year ago at an online Kitchen Table Conversation, again when she volunteered at a We Are Hughes event in Wattle Grove, and recently at my candidature announcement at Bonnet Bay.
The interactions and conversations we have been having for over a year have given me a greater depth of understanding of the work that Legacy does for the families and partners of Veterans who have given their lives or have health issues including PTS.
In Hughes there are many Veterans and Veteran Families, the exact number is not known, Jo knows of roughly 600 family members but is sure there are many more Veterans.
When the 2021 Census is released there will be much better data. For the first time it asked the question:
“Have you ever served in the Australian Defence force?”
Currently, the Australian Government supports 240,231 Veterans and 97,245 family members and dependents, but it is estimated there could be as many as 630,000 Veterans in Australia. ¹
Legacy supports families of Veterans from all conflicts and peacekeeping deployments. Legacy provides financial, emotional, and social support. The support can be a phone call to help with the social isolation of elders through to educational opportunities for children of Veterans.
Jo is passionate about iRest as a healing tool, as well as art therapy. iRest is evidence-based and was developed by Dr Richard Miller, clinical psychologist, yoga teacher, author & mentor, at the Walter Reed VA Memorial Hospital in Washington DC. Jo sees these tools, that connect mind and body, as powerful healers for people who are living with trauma. They also provide a way for those taking part to re-establish connections with people that understand and care.
A safe and welcoming space
With the number of Veterans and their families who live in and around Hughes, Jo is passionate about seeking to establish a local "hub" that is welcoming and feels like a home away from home. Somewhere that they can connect with a variety of supportive adjunct therapies, advocates and other Veterans. It would also be a space for Veterans of our Emergency Services and their families.
After we met, we viewed a perfect location for Veterans like Jo and their families. Standing with Jo and listening to her outline her visions for support for people, you can see how much sense this makes in a supportive society.
We also used the opportunity to take a photo of the space opposite that may soon be vacant.
Is this a fortuitous sign?
If I have the privilege of representing my community, I will listen to people, elevate their voices when I need to, help them to access grants and services and work with those most affected by new and existing legislation and policy.