With Legacy Week 2020 kicking off on Sunday, August 30, Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said he wanted to make people aware of the incredible work the Sunshine Coast Legacy Group does and urge the community to support the foundation.
Commencing in 1942, Legacy Week, or “Badge Week” as it is commonly known, is the annual national appeal to raise awareness and funds for the families of Australian Defence Force men and women who have lost their lives or have health issues.
“2020 has been an incredibly challenging year to date and many charities, like Legacy, have been hit hard in the hip pocket,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Its services are entirely funded by donations and support from the general public and supporters in the corporate and community sector.
“With the impact of the bushfires, the cancellation of ANZAC Day this year and now the pandemic, fundraising has been extremely challenging.
“But more importantly, COVID-19 restrictions have meant that around 950 Sunshine Coast widows and families of veterans who gave their lives or health in military service, haven’t received the same personal level of support from our wonderful local Legacy volunteers as in previous years.
“Legacy badges may be small, but the funds they raise make a big impact to those who have given up so much and need us to continue to stand by their side during the tough times”.
Mayor Jamieson said Legacy was a source of support and advocacy for widows through the most challenging time in their lives, from accessing war pensions and other entitlements through to providing ongoing companionship and involvement in social activities.
Local widow, Nita Tupper has been a Legacy widow for over 30 years after her husband, Noel Tupper passed away.
Noel, a veteran of 30 years, had served with the Navy in Korea. Nita has been a Secretary of the War Widows’ Guild and Secretary and President of the Maroochydore Laurel Club, a social club for Legacy widows.
Nita is instrumental in planning trips, events and public speakers for the Laurel Club ladies’ entertainment and meetings. She is very active in the local community and is a role model and a mentor to new widows to Legacy.
“Legacy has helped me during difficult times over the years and I feel it’s time for me to give back,” Nita said.
Nita regularly helps out selling badges each year during Legacy Week.
“That little badge is a symbol of a proud Australian tradition spanning nine decades which continues to make a big impact on veteran’s families today,” she said.
Legacy Sunshine Coast Chairman, Lee Shimbel, said that on the Sunshine Coast, Legacy strived to ensure that the partners and children of Veterans who gave their lives or health in recognised military service can fully realise their potential.
“These families have seen their loved ones leave our shores to serve in wars throughout time, from World War 2 and Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq,” Mr Shimbel said.
“Many never made the journey home and others returned bearing the physical or mental scars of war.
“We care for those in need, believing that this adversity should not lead to social and financial disadvantage.
“We are helping young families at an increasing rate and there are many more who desperately need our support.
“We nurture children’s education by contributing towards school fees, books, uniforms and recreational activities, such as our annual Youth Camp, to foster their self-development and confidence.
“We also assist older widows through pension advocacy, counselling, special housing, medical and social support.”
Members of the community are encouraged to support Sunshine Coast Legacy Group at one or more of the following events during Legacy Week and beyond, or call Legacy Sunshine Coast on 5443 9841.
· Saturday 29 August – Legacy Community BBQ fundraiser at Bunnings Maroochydore (all day).
· Sunday 30 August – Saturday 05 September – Legacy Week – “Buy a Badge”
Volunteers will be selling Legacy badges and merchandise across 18 Sunshine Coast locations. All locations and online donation details are available on Legacy’s Sunshine Coast’s Facebook page: facebook.com/LegacySunshineCoast/.