Local artist paints for veterans cause

By Neil Wilson - Sub Editor for the Bribie Islander

Veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder. Bribie Island

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Tags: Veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder. Bribie Island


When well known local artist Hazel Cowburn was made aware of the many issues which are faced by the brave men and women of the Australian Defence Forces when they return to civilian life , she felt that she needed to use her talent to not only play a role in providing assisting them but to also help with creating awareness of this shocking situation.

Hazel explained to me that her cousin, who served as a forward scout in Vietnam, had told her about how veterans have problems adjusting to life as a civilian. ‘They are trained to fight but receive no advice on how to cope after they come home,’ she said. Hazel pointed out that as well as the terrible statistics regarding so many veterans being homeless, there are also many who are unable to deal with their situation and take their own life. ‘I first became aware of the amount who commit suicide when I heard that twenty-two veteran commit suicide in America each day,’ said Hazel.

Featured Image(above): Hazel Cowburn with her creation, Tears of Rembrances. Photo Credit: Deb Neill Photography

‘This was of course what the “Twenty Two Push-ups in Twenty Two Days” awareness campaign was all about and, because there was no way I was going to be able to do Push-ups, I decided to create my painting “Tears of Remembrances” to get the message out there and to raise money which will be given to Bravery Trust, an organisation who plays an important role in providing financial support to veterans and their families,’ she added. “Tears of Remembrances” is themed around the red poppy fields of France which are seen as representing the blood that was spilt during what has been described as a bloody war.

Hazel has incorporated tears falling from the red poppies and also a number of white feathers which represent peace. This very significant piece of art has attracted attention by the Bribie RSL Sub-Branch and has resulted in the organisation making a donation of five hundred dollars to assist Hazel in her fundraising efforts and also purchasing one of the 250 prints that are available for sale at the very low cost of $150.

RSL Sub-Branch Honorary Secretary Ed Wright said that there is an incredible number of veterans who return from combat with conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and just can’t cope with day to day life. “They turn to either alcohol or drugs as a way of getting through,’ Ed told me. ‘As an indication of just how bad the situation is, during Operation Slipper in Afghanistan there were forty-one casualties and the suicide rate here is forty-two and climbing,’ he said.

Veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder. Bribie Island

Hazel Cowburn (C) explaining the significance of her painting to her daughter Samantha and RSL Sub-Branch Secretary Ed Wright

This beautifully created work of art is described by the artist as, “representing the sacrifices made by all Australian service personnel who have laid down their lives during all conflicts.” As the poppies are crying with tears of blood, the tears pool on the ground for all of us to remember the sacrifices that have been made,” Hazel says of her work.

A print of “Tears of Remembrances” can be purchased by contacting Hazel Cowburn at her email address which is [email protected] and Hazel is aiming to have all of this limited edition sold by Christmas. Personally, after seeing the painting myself, I think that they will all be sold well before then.

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A highly successful sales and leadership career working in a number of different and very competitive industries. Engaging with decision makers at all levels in business and government. Three decades employed by corporations, SME businesses in senior roles and almost twelve years operating as a freelance contractor has equipped me well for all aspects of business. Whether leading and mentoring sales teams, or in a direct sales role I enjoy the challenge to meet and exceed expectations. Making a real and tangible difference in either a team environment or as an individual is an important personal goal I have consistently achieved throughout my career. In all of my business and personal dealings over the years there is one issue that stands out above all others - communication. Excellent communication skills creates trust, helps with mutually beneficial outcomes and above all cements long lasting positive relationships. I strive everyday to communicate effectively with the people I encounter.