War Veterans Home

Getting To Know Our Volunteers

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Volunteers of RSL Care SA

RSL Care SA is privileged to have a wonderful, rapidly growing database of passionate volunteers. All of our volunteers are highly valued and seen as a vital part of our organisation. Thanks to the generosity of our volunteers, we are able to offer a range of versatile activities and services that enrich the lives of our residents.

To demonstrate just how important volunteers are to our organisation, we will be posting regular interviews with our volunteers showing exactly what it is they do and why.

SANDRA PAVIA

Sandra Pavia is our Volunteer Coordinator and has been working at RSL Care SA for over 12 months.  Working closely with the residents, Sandra has been able to tailor volunteer services to suit their various needs. Having a dedicated Volunteer Coordinator has seen our volunteer database double over the last year! We currently have 34 active volunteers, and of course we are always looking for more! See Sandra’s interview below:

What sorts of activities do volunteers do with our residents?

Volunteers participate in a range of different activities with our residents, such as; companionship and social support; assistance on outings or shopping; driving the bus for resident outings; beauty therapy services such as manicures; organising or assisting with participation in activities; Pastoral care and faith support; assistance with wellbeing initiatives and providing pet therapy engagement with residents to list a few

We also have volunteers who provide support in areas such as the kitchen, garden and maintenance.

Volunteers with the right qualifications are also able to go into specialised areas such as Andrew Russell Veteran Living (ARVL), which is our program for younger veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Why do you think volunteers are so valued at RSL Care SA?

We value our volunteers because we recognise the critical role they play in supporting and enhancing the lives of our residents and hope that they gain as much enjoyment from their volunteering as our residents do. Volunteers also support the organisation in fulfilling its mission and vision.

What benefits do you see to the resident’s from having volunteers visit regularly?

Volunteers are able to focus on the resident’s individual needs at the time of their visit, spend quality time with them, nurture friendships, sit and listen, embrace natural reminiscing and support residents social connections.

How do you become a volunteer at RSL Care SA?

To volunteer at RSL Care SA all you need to have is a desire to contribute to the enhancement of our residents lives, an ability to commit as little as one hour per week, and undertake the necessary approval processes required to work in Aged Care.

BETH COTTON

What made you decide to become a volunteer?

I thoroughly enjoy being in the company of older people. I love chatting with them and listening to their stories. I always come away from my visits feeling very blessed!

What is your role as a Volunteer at RSL Care SA?

I buddy a resident who has severe memory loss, helping out as needed. It is a privilege to help someone who is vulnerable, even if it’s just providing some extra company or offering a listening ear. I also attend the ‘chair exercise’ group and assist the residents throughout the class, which I thoroughly enjoy.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering?

I enjoy spending my time with people who have lived amazing lives. The residents all have stories to tell and listening to what they have to say adds colour to my life. There is an old saying “as we refresh or bless others we are ourselves refreshed”, and I couldn’t agree with this more!

ANNE MILLER

Anne is our wonderful Art Facilitator. Watch her interview below!

SUSAN KUKESTE

How long have you been volunteering at RSL Care SA?

I have been volunteering at RSL Care Myrtle Bank since March 2016 so just over 2 years.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?

After finishing full time employment I still needed to work. I have been involved in and contributing to community throughout my life. Growing up in the country that was a given. In my early years I was involved with Nursing Mothers Association of Australia as a counsellor and group leader. Once my children were at school I became involved in school life – supporting student needs, fundraising and pastoral care support to parents. I volunteered with Teen Challenge for several years and have continued with voluntary work through group work and pastoral care associated with my church life.  The opportunity to volunteer at Myrtle Bank and work with the Chaplain and Lifestyle in Pastoral Care Support was a good fit. So here I am.

What activities do you do with the residents?

Most of my time and involvement is visiting with the residents offering a listening ear, friendship, general chit chat, and conversation, wherever that might take us. At times I join in with planned activities. A very important part of my week is supporting the weekly Sunday Church Service. Assisting residents to get there and return home, leading services and giving a message are all part of what I do- who I am.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering?

Following the loss of my mother in 2015 I reflected on the shortcomings of life for the aging in our society, particularly people becoming more isolated and people in care. I hoped to make a difference and contribute in a way that would count and be meaningful for individuals. Having studied and trained as a Chaplain I hoped to utilize this in whatever I took on in the future.

As a pastoral care person I talk with and get to know people. Some people are happy with a brief ‘how are you, hope you are well’. Others like to share their stories and have someone take interest in their lives and develop relationships with them. I have the privilege of hearing incredible stories, beautiful stories and in so doing one can only recognise and marvel at the resilience and courage and beauty of so many. Everyone has stories to tell.

We all need to tell those stories and learn of one another –  that’s how we grow, that’s how community happens. I am enriched and challenged by the privilege of sharing in the residents’  life journeys.

JIM RICHARDSON

Jim has been volunteering at the War Veterans Home in Myrtle Bank for about nine months and is a wonderful addition to our Veterans Support Group. Watch his interview below!

If you wish to enquire further about volunteer opportunities, please contact Sandra Pavia on 8379 2600. Sandra will be happy to schedule a time to meet with you and discuss your areas of interest.

The Gawler RSL Women’s Auxiliary

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    Gawler RSL Womens Auxiliary

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The War Veterans Home honours its long relationship with the Gawler RSL Women’s Auxiliary with an annual luncheon

A Rich History

The Gawler RSL Women’s Auxiliary formed in 1950 as a team of dedicated women who hoped to provide financial support to service related organisations. The members have been very successful in their mission, providing numerous physical donations each year and hosting many fundraising events.

These ever charming and charismatic ladies have been welcome guests at The War Veteran’s Home now for almost 50 years. Current members have reminisced on our long history together;

The RSL Women’s Auxiliary visited the War Veterans home for the first time on September 28th 1968, and they brought gifts of oranges and cigarettes for the solely male residents. During this period the facility was home to many ex-servicemen who did not have a home to return to after their service.

In 1974 the men from the War Veterans Home began visiting the Women’s Auxiliary at their club room in Gawler. The veterans would present the ladies with toys, rugs and lead light glass butterfly’s and birds; all items that were handmade at the War Veterans Home onsite workshop. The ladies would then go on to sell these items and donate the funds back to the home.

As the home gradually evolved into the aged care facility that exists today, the ladies began donating home ware items that could be enjoyed by all residents, and their much loved crochet blankets are still included in our welcome packages for new residents.

Supporting our veterans today

Today these wonderful women continue to provide support to our veterans, having donated over $2,000 at their recent luncheon for our Andrew Russel Veteran Living (ARVL) program. This donation will go a long way in helping RSL Care SA to provide accommodation to ex-service men and women who are facing homelessness.

RSL Care SA looks forward to hosting many more lunches with the Gawler RSL Women’s Auxiliary.

For more information on ARVL, please click here.

To make a donation, please click here.  

Miller Mack

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Aboriginal World War 1 Veteran Miller Mack

RSL Care SA is extremely pleased to provide financial support to the Aboriginal Veterans of South Australia Association (AVSA) for the service and reinterment of Aboriginal World War 1 veteran, Private Miller Mack.

Private Mack saw service in WW1 as a member of the 50th Battalion, particularly in France at the Battle of Messines. Miller Mack contracted tuberculosis while overseas, was medically discharged and on his return home, spent some time as a resident of the War Veterans Home. Miller Mack died in 1919 at the age of 25, and was buried in an unmarked grave at the West Terrace Cemetery, not far from many of his fellow soldiers buried in the AIF section.

On Friday 24th March 2017, Miller Mack’s remains will be exhumed from the West Terrace Cemetery and reinterred at Raukkan Aboriginal Community, near the Murray Mouth where he and his family came from, returning Miller Mack’s ‘spirit’ home.

ABC News coverage of Miller Mack reinterred

Immanuel College Art Program

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Immanuel College Art Program 2017

RSL Care SAs War Veterans Home was very pleased to welcome 48 Immanuel College year 8 students as part of their Art program for 2017. The students will be creating sculptural pieces based on the theme of ‘coming home’ from war and how that how that experience has affected veterans and/or their families.

RSL Care SA CEO, Nathan Klinge spoke to the students about the experiences of many veterans who have ‘walked the halls’ of the War Veterans Home over the past 100 years. The students were then shown around the site, highlighting to them the many pieces of military memorabilia and artifacts displayed throughout the Home.

We look forward to seeing how the year 8 students interpret the ‘Coming Home’ theme and the creative sculptural pieces they create.

About us

RSL Care SA believes that the ex-service community deserves the best care and affordable accommodation. RSL Care SA is an independently constituted not for profit organisation with links to the Returned & Services League of Australia (SA Branch).

Our mission is to support veterans and their dependents, although the ex-service community are our primary client group it is not exclusively so. The facilities and services are also available to the broader community.

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