Vietnam Veterans Association & the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park

By Neil Wilson - Sub Editor for the Bribie Islander

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Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park Bribie Island. Queensland. Brisbane

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Tags: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park Bribie Island. Queensland. Brisbane

HONOUR THE DEAD – BUT FIGHT LIKE HELL FOR THE LIVING

As the title of this article, I have used the motto of the Vietnam Veterans Association and there is no better example of how to live up to that motto than the one set by the members of the local sub-branch of that association. Along with the considerable effort that is required to maintain the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park that is situated on Toorbul Street in Bongaree and, dedicated to those who have paid the ultimate price, our local veterans offer support to their comrades in many ways.

Featured Image(above): The AAHC has allocated one of the Bell Kiowas for the VVA
Memorial Park

During a recent ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park, Paul Cooke unveiled a memorial plaque which serves to remember those who have served, returned and then later succumbed to that silent killer, suicide. Paul pointed out that the park is a fitting place for the plaque and hopefully, it will help bring the serious subject of suicide among veterans and first responders to the fore and remove any stigma attached, remembering that these people gave their all. Following the unveiling, VVA Chaplain Rev. Colin Baxter RAN (Ret) performed the Blessing of the plaque.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park Bribie Island. Queensland. Brisbane

Paul Cooke described the park as a fitting place for the Memorial Plaque

Whilst on the subject of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park, moves are underway to have a Bell Kiowa helicopter brought to Bribie Island and permanently displayed in the park. The Australian Aviation Heritage Centre has acquired five of the aircraft and one is being prepared for its move to the island. It is intended that the Kiowa will be mounted on a pole in a prominent position near the entrance to the park and association secretary Jock Young has told me that if all goes to plan, the project will be completed by New Year.

‘We are just waiting on final approval from Council and getting together the funds that are needed,’ said Jock. ‘We obtained a grant from the Government “Stronger Communities Program” and also the local RSL Sub-Branch but the cost that we at first estimated has doubled,’ he added. Jock also mentioned that they are looking for a suitable shed or spray booth to use when painting the helicopter prior to it being installed in the park.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park Bribie Island. Queensland. Brisbane

Rev. Colin Baxter RAN (Ret) performed the blessing of the plaque

The Bribie Island Vietnam Veterans Association Sub-Branch was founded in May of 1990 and in 2005, opened the “Dust Off Pad” as a place which could provide access to welfare, pension and DVA advice along with assistance by trained volunteer officers, also offering social activities in an alcohol and poker machine free environment. The facility is open to all ex-service or current serving personnel and their families who wish to drop in for a chat, a coffee or to seek help in a neutral place.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park Bribie Island. Queensland. Brisbane

The Suicide Remembrance Plaque at the entrance to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park

Access to computers and a photocopier is available as well as a free library with videos and DVDs. Members of the association can often be seen out and about in the community, either fundraising by way of their sausage sizzles or assisting at events such as the regular triathlons. The funds that are raised are used in assisting veterans within the community and association president “Kanga” Daley mentioned that the support that the association receives from the local community is absolutely amazing. ‘I just want everyone to know how much their support is appreciated,’ said “Kanga.”

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park Bribie Island. Queensland. BrisbaneNot only does the local VVA use their funds to support veterans and their families, but there are also occasions when they see the need for their support in other areas and they have recently donated the sum of $10,000 to the Drought Relief Appeal by Rotary. Information about the Bribie Island Vietnam Veterans Association can be obtained by paying a visit to the “Dust Off Pad” which is next to the U3A on First Avenue at Bongaree or by making a call to 3408 0405. The centre is open Monday to Friday from 10 am until 1 pm.

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