Hundreds of Royal Australian Navy personnel around the country are selling badges and military teddy bears this week to raise money for Defence families who are suffering financially or socially after the death or incapacitation of a serving spouse or parent.
Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer officially launched the national Legacy Week campaign, urging people all around Australia to support the cause.
“A reality of the service that the members of our Australian Defence Force provide is that they are required to regularly leave their families behind, and on occasion go into harms way.
“This has been, and continues to be, necessary to defend the Australian way of life and our national interests, both at home and overseas.
“Throughout history, we have continued to ask our sailors, soldiers and airmen and women to be prepared to pay the ultimate price, and sadly many do make the ultimate sacrifice for us.
“It is the families of those wounded or killed who are left to pick up the pieces of their lives, forever changed by their loved ones’ service to our nation. Legacy is there for these families in their darkest hours and continues to be there for them as they attempt to rebuild their lives,” Rear Admiral Mayer said.
Personnel from Navy Headquarters Tasmania (NHQ-Tas) kicked off their support of Legacy Week on Tuesday, with six officers and sailors and members of the Navy Band Tasmanian Detachment ‘drumming’ up donations in Hobart’s Elizabeth Street Mall. Throughout the week, ninety percent of the staff of NHQ-Tas have taken part in Legacy collection activities, covering the suburbs of Hobart, Glenorchy, Eastlands and Kingston.
“The locals in Glenorchy were very generous. Once they saw that it was Legacy we were collecting for, they had no issue with donating,” said Leading Seaman Andrew Harvey from NHQ-Tas.
“While I was collecting, a lady actually explained to me how her father had been directly supported by Legacy after he lost his father in World War One,” he said.
Keen to raise as much as possible for Legacy, volunteers from HMAS Kuttabul have spent all week selling Legacy merchandise in the streets of Sydney. Under the charge of Warrant Officer Robert van Eldik, the Ship’s Warrant Officer, the large group of officers and sailors set out to look for every donation on offer in Sydney’s CBD.
Today, volunteers from HMAS Penguin ‘did the rounds’ of the base to collect donations and asked participants of Exercise Bluestokes, a major medical training exercise being conducted at Penguin, to dig deep. Tomorrow, officers and sailors from Penguin will shake collection tins in the Sydney areas of Mosman and Balmoral.
“Collecting for Legacy is a popular event on Penguin’s community engagement calendar, as it provides the opportunity for the ship’s company to meet the public and make a contribution to a great cause,” said the Commanding Officer of HMAS Penguin, Commander Paul Gall.
Tomorrow, a group of 22 personnel from HMAS Stirling and HMAS Perth will join forces with Legacy representatives, local veterans and students to collect donations in Perth, Fremantle and the suburbs surrounding Fleet Base West.
The people of Melbourne will also have an opportunity to support Legacy tomorrow, during Exercise ‘Savage Torch’.
“The exercise will involve 120 sailors and officers from HMAS Cerberus and personnel from the Defence Force School of Signals and Simpson Barracks selling Legacy badges and collecting donations at various points throughout the Melbourne CBD,” said Sub Lieutenant Katherine Mulheron from Cerberus.
Savage Torch will take place between 8am and 2:30pm.
During the Legacy Week launch in Sydney, Legacy Australia Chairman David Gray urged members of the public to continue to support the worthy cause, which is now in its 91st year.
“It is 100 years since the start of WW1 and Legacy continues to offer support to over 90,000 widows – some of them the widows of those who fought in that very war – as well as 1900 children,” Mr Gray said.
“Legacy’s role continues to evolve to accommodate the changing needs of families we support, including those affected by Post Traumatic Stress, which it does while keeping the Legacy ethos that has serviced us proudly since 1923.
“When you see a badge seller in the street during Legacy Week, help us help the families in need and buy a badge,” he said.