Letter submitted by Keith Enno
I’d like to let your readers know what it’s like for the residents at RSL Vasey Care who are living under the terrible threat of losing their homes and the destruction of a community that means so much to each of them.
As you would probably know the RSL and War Widows Guild have instructed Vasey Care RSL to put itself up for sale. This decision impacts about 700 Veterans and Widows at its various establishments and it has created a great deal of fear and anxiety for us all.
Earlier this week I attended residents meeting at the community hall of my village. I sat with about a dozen or so elderly and frail residents. To my right was a dear lady, a widow of the Second World War, bleeding from the nose as a result of aggressive chemotherapy. At home my wife of 53 years was dealing with her own demons, battling grade 3 breast cancer. Opposite me sat a veteran who only weeks ago been told of his brain tumour. Next to him was a frail elderly couple, the husband is a disabled veteran who provides 24/7 care for his wife who is confined to a wheelchair. And on my left were several of outpatients from Ward 17 who were clearly struggling to contain their anxiety.
These good people have clearly sacrificed so much for our country and now they are on the brink of losing the one small and most meaningful concession they got in return.
It was hard for me to look around that room. I wanted to focus on something more positive but I couldn’t. I left the gathering saddened and depressed. These good people have clearly sacrificed so much for our country and now they are on the brink of losing the one small and most meaningful concession they got in return. We are fighting for our homes and our community while most of us can barely look after ourselves.
Neither the RSL nor the War Widows Guild has made any meaningful effort to speak with us. They just sent us each a form letter and a so-called “Fact” sheet that is supposed to justify their decision to abandon us.
The Department of Veterans Affairs and Vasey RSL Care have subsequently repudiated the “fake news” within the Fact Sheet. The numbers they have indicate a strong and ongoing need for Vasey to remain intact and indeed expand.
Vasey RSL Care is an important part of our heritage and a vital service for many vulnerable veterans and widows.
We cannot allow the pencil-pushers at ANZAC House and within the Guild undo the lessons of World War I, World War II, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam and the Middle East.
This is not a time to reinvent the wheel, but a time to polish it.