It’s been exactly 100 years since the Returned and Services Leagues (RSL) was established to support ex-servicemen and women, and 17 years since the Airlie Beach / Whitsundays RSL Sub Branch opened.
Sub Branch president Terry Brown said he joined the club after serving decades in the Royal Australian Air Force for the sense of “camaraderie”.
“It’s a place where ex-servicemen can go for the camaraderie and it’s also there to help ex-servicemen whenever they need it,” he said.
Mr Brown has been president of the roughly 60-member branch for eight years now.
“We have everyone from World War Two to the current day, and everything in the middle,” he said.
Kaye Bull has been a welfare officer for the branch for three years, since moving from Mackay to the Whitsunday region.
Mrs Bull, whose husband is an ex-serviceman, said if she’d known about the role “20 years ago” she would have become involved sooner.
“I love it. When you’ve been in welfare a while, you (can) sense when people might need a little bit of help,” she said.
Mrs Bull also helps returned servicemen obtain benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“A lot of these servicemen that have been overseas, they don’t really want to ask for help,” she said.
“The biggest thing is you must be willing to listen and do what you can to help them.”
Mrs Bull co-ordinated the “light horsemen” who led the Airlie Beach ANZAC parade.
The Airlie Beach / Whitsunday RSL Sub Branch meets on the first Wednesday of every month at the Reef Gateway Hotel.
SOURCE: WHITSUNDAY TIMES