We Salute our Veterans! 

It’s on April 25 each year that Australians come together to solemnly celebrate ANZAC Day.  On this occasion we pause with grateful hearts to reflect on the service of generations of Australian service men and women, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice, so that today, we live as a free and proud nation.

Maroba counts it a privilege to have become, over the years and still today, home to many men and women who have bravely served our country.

Recently, I’ve had the honour to speak to a couple of Maroba residents and a staff member who proudly recalled their service in the Australian Armed forces. I’d like to share with you a little of what they had to say.

Judith Clarke was a real pioneer when she enlisted as a WRAN in the years following World War 2.  Judith stressed that women of her era were not permitted to do sea service, rather they were quickly utilised as administrative support to underpin the efficient operation of naval services.

On a lighter side Judith recalls how popular the WRANS were at the Flinders Naval Depot where, after work, they became the highly sort after dance partners for the 3,000 Able Seamen who were also on the base.

Trish Punshon served from 1977-1996 as an Army reservist at Adamstown and loved every minute of it.  She acquired payroll skills, learned to drive a variety of heavy transport vehicles and of course became adept at using a wide range of military weapons.

Linda Winn, Maroba’s Director of Care, completed 20 years of service as a Royal Australian Air Force reservist in 2003.  After graduating as a Registered Nurse, Linda was awarded the rank of Flight Lieutenant, undertook training at Duntroon and was attached to No.22 Squadron RAAF Richmond, but also spent time in Tamworth and Williamtown.  Linda’s primary function included the provision of health services and clinical education. Linda’s service epitomised her commitment to making a difference in the lives of defence force personnel in preparation for, during and post deployment. Today, Linda brings this commitment to make a positive difference to the life of every person she touches here at Maroba!

These three women although serving at different times and in different branches of the services were agreed on many things.  All were grateful for the diverse skills they acquired and opportunities they were offered while serving; all spoke of the great comradery and the wonderful friendships they enjoyed, some of which have lasted until the present time and they all agreed a career in the Australian forces was worthy of consideration by the young men and women of today.

Anzac Day, for each of them, causes them to reflect with gratitude and respect on the many who have served before them and more recently, with them and most importantly, those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  John 15:13 makes it very clear that ‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’

To Judith, Trish and Linda and all other Maroba residents and staff who have freely served our country we thank you and salute you.

‘At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.’

Lest we forget.

By Helen MacDonald