By BEV JORDAN
A call for new members has been sounded by 16 local RSL sub-branches keen to connect with people serving in the Australian Defence Force as well as former members and allied personnel.
The clubs are members of the RSL Far Western Metro-Politian District Council (FWMDC) which includes Castle Hill RSL Sub-branch, Glenorie, Richmond, Riverstone-Schofields and Windsor.
Their message is: If you have ever served or are serving in the Australian Defence Force or an ex-serving allied Defence Force person regardless of overseas service, you are eligible to join the RSL.
The major concern is that many eligible veterans are not aware they can join their local RSL Sub-branch.
Club Members, Local MPs, councillors, business leaders and service clubs were invited to the launch of the recruitment drive where FWMDC President David Ingram said it was vital to attract younger members to the clubs as existing members age.
A member of Windsor of Windsor RSL Sub-Branch since 2006 and American Airforce veteran of over 20 years, Mr Ingram said: “The RSL strives to attract all veterans who have spent time in the armed services to better their lives and provide dignity and respect for their service and sacrifice.”
“We are the only organisation that supports all veterans, no matter when or where they served. Each sub branch is run by volunteers. Every day of the year we look after veterans. Mental health of veterans is a major concern, but not our only concern.”
Retired Colonel Don Tait, from Castle Hill RSL subbranch said it was vital to connect with defence force personnel when they either retired or discharged from the defence force.
“The sub-branch is the heart of the RSL. It’s the largest veterans’ charity in Australia. We are there to look after veterans and their families. Every day of the year they look after veterans in hospitals, nursing homes or in their own homes. There is anecdotal evidence that there are fewer incidence of suicide amongst RSL veterans than there are in the wider veteran community.”
He said people knew who veterans were but many did not know what the RSL was. “NSW needs an influx of younger members to survive.”
• Family support,
• Social activities,
• Gym support programs,
• Welfare including DVA claims’ assistance,
• Referral to RSL NSW DefenceCare,
•• Job finding assistance/ referral,
•• Respite Units,
•• Inter sub-Branch sporting activities
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