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Legion tees off in Maitland

A hugely successful golf day has brought together veterans young and old in the Hunter Region of NSW.

In December last year, the Maitland Vietnam Veterans and Services Legion, working with Veteran Sport Australia (VSA), for the first time opened up their annual Christmas golf day to younger and contemporary veterans.

What a success.

Engaging with all ages – and skill levels!

33 veterans and family members – of all ages and skill levels – came together at Easts Leisure & Golf Club in East Maitland for the friendly 18 hole Ambrose competition.

As this reporter wasn’t present on the day, we’ll have to assume that everyone involved was hitting the ball beautifully all morning.

Ian Durham is the newly elected Vice President of the Legion and has been living in the Hunter area for three years, having come up from Wagga.

“The Legion is a fantastic group of people,” said Ian. “They’re proactive and supportive of anyone that needs a hand.”

The Legion has a packed calendar of events from caravanning to fishing – and of course golf. There must be about 3-4 functions a month.

To promote the golf day, Ian worked with Rachel Kerrigan from VSA, who helped connect the Legion with some local veterans in the area, particularly younger veterans that were keen to be active.

“I heard Rachel give a talk on Remembrance Day,” said Ian. “We got talking afterwards and became friends. We teamed up to try to reach out to and help out younger veterans in the area.”

The day was a huge success, and a great way to use sport to connect veterans of different eras. Similar events are being planned for the future.

Connecting through sport

Rachel is VSA’s Veteran Engagement Specialist in the Hunter Region of NSW. She works closely with a wide range of groups in the area, from RSL sub-Branches and auxiliaries to local sporting clubs and associations.

Rachel was roving around the golf course on the day, taking photos and meeting veterans, and says that the Legion is on to a winning formula.

“It was great seeing everyone coming together in such a fun and relaxed way,” said Rachel. “Ian and I knew this would work, but the turnout and feedback was amazing. Sport is unique in the way that it’s able to bring people together.”

“Having lots of opportunities for veterans to mix and get active in our area is so important,” said Rachel.

The next open event the Legion puts on will likely be another golf day, despite Ian conceding that he himself is not much of a golfer. Neither is Rachel, she assures us.

“The BBQ at the end was the best part of the day,” said Ian. “Everyone fitted in, had a laugh and talked about their bad shots!”

If you’re interested in getting active, make sure you reach out to Veteran Sport Australia to find opportunities in your area.