Navy officers and sailors will take to the streets, shopping centres and subway stations this week to peddle their wares in support of Legacy.
Legacy Week is a national appeal to raise awareness and funds for the families of incapacitated or deceased Australian Defence Force veterans.
It runs from 1-7 September each year, with Legacy Badge Day to be held around the nation on Friday, 6 September.
The funds raised during the week will help Legacy continue to assist approximately 60,000 beneficiaries, with 96% of them being elderly widows throughout Australia.
Legacy supports them with essential services such as counselling, special housing, medical, advocacy and social support.
Public support will also help Legacy nurture children’s education, by contributing towards their school fees, books, uniforms, and recreational activities to aid their self-development and confidence.
Legacy has more than 4000 volunteers around Australia, caring for 58,000 widows or widowers and 2000 children and dependants with a disability. The average age of widows is now more than 80.
Sadly, not all widows and children being assisted by Legacy are elderly.
Navy Lieutenant Jessica Craig knows better than most the support provided by Legacy when Defence families are most in need.
In February 2017, Jessica’s husband Able Seaman Peter Craig, died in a motorcycle crash. Their son was only eight months old.
“I do not have the words to explain the physical and emotional pain that losing your partner has on every facet of your existence.
“But I do know the love and support we received from the Navy and his mates helped us get through.
“I know he had found his calling in the Navy and the people he served were his second family,” Lieutenant Craig said.
She said she and her son would not be doing as well without the support of Legacy.
“Legacy has supported me through a situation I would never wish on my worst enemy.
“They were there to fall back on while everything else was crashing around us.
“I grew up in an ADF family and bought a bear or badge every year, yet I never knew what Legacy did.
“Now I do and I’m thankful they are there to ‘bear’ the legacy for every ADF family,” she said.
So, if you see a soldier, sailor or airman peddling badges and bears this week - support their cause and keep an important Legacy alive.