Time2Talk Nambucca Valley goes the extra mile for veterans

Nambucca Valley Veterans and Time2Talk members visiting the Australian War Memorial. (L-R) Danny Doolan, Pat Clough, Alan Gill, Mark Bannister, June Rossington, Doug Brown, John Spiller, Garry McKay, Gai McKay, Todd Vercoe, Kevin Tory, Rev Tom Fairchild, Marree Brown, Paula and Keith Buckley. Photo: supplied.

TIME2TALK Nambucca Valley, a local not-for-profit organisation aimed at opening doors and ending the stigma around mental health, recently organised and escorted a group of Nambucca Valley military veterans to Canberra to visit the Australian War Memorial (AWM).

In addition to raising funds for RUOK, Time2Talk has been facilitating information sessions and mental health courses and wanted to do something positive for the mental health of veterans in the Nambucca Valley.

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Time2Talk’s Paula Buckley approached Garry McKay, President of the Macksville RSL sub-Branch.

Garry is a Vietnam Veteran who’s military service extended to see him also serve in Afghanistan.

Paula and Garry conceived the idea of offering a visit to the AWM to veterans in the Nambucca Valley and saw their concept through to completion.

Garry McKay told News Of The Area, “We, the veterans community, are very grateful to Time2Talk for this opportunity and the War Memorial is a place that all ex-servicemen and women should visit to honour our fallen and those who have served and to reflect on the significance of their own service to the country.”

Nambucca Valley Community Transport stepped up to help and donated the bus for the trip.

Departing on Friday 1 September the group travelled to Canberra and on the next day were treated to a tour of the AWM by an expert guide who was respectful of the military service of the Nambucca group.

This was followed by a tour of the military memorials along Anzac Parade and for some this had been their first visit to the AWM and nearby memorials.

The Nambucca Valley visitors then had the honour of attending the evening ‘Last Post Ceremony’ at the AWM that, on this day, was conducted in honour of Private Arthur Lillis who was killed in action in Syria during World War 2.

Garry McKay and Paula Buckley laid a wreath on behalf of the group at the ceremony.

The following day the group toured areas of significance such as the Royal Military College Duntroon and the grave of General Bridges.

Before the day concluded the group visited the National Arboretum.

“The aim of the trip was to get these veterans out and engaging with each other, checking on each other’s wellbeing and support each other’s mental health while doing something that was of common interest across the group and I think, thanks to Time2Talk Nambucca Valley, we achieved that,” Garry Mckay added.

Time2Talk’s Paul Buckley concluded, “This experience was only made possible due to the many generous donations we received from our amazing local community, in particular Nambucca Heads RSL Club, MidCoast Trucks, Sable Engineering, Nambucca Valley Council, Macksville RSL sub-Branch, Nambucca Heads Lions Club, Webbs Fuel,
Foodworks Macksville and all who bought tickets in our recent raffle.


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