Staying in touch

Australian Army veteran Mariann Mathias, of the Women's Royal Australian Army Corps, enjoys a phone call from a current serving Army member as part of the Virtual Veteran Visit initiative. Photo: Trooper Jonathan Goedhart

Staying in touch

COVID-19 restrictions didn’t get in the way of 7th Combat Brigade personnel connecting to the Brisbane veteran community around Anzac Day this year, with currently serving members making phone calls to the soldiers of yesterday as part of the new Virtual Veteran Visit initiative.

Soldiers on Gallipoli Barracks chatted about service life with veterans who have been isolated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

RSL Queensland spokesperson Rob Skoda stressed the importance of the Virtual Veteran Visit initiative, pioneered this year from Gallipoli Barracks.

“Many of our older veterans look forward to Anzac Day. I know many of them are feeling the loss of this social interaction, especially those who have been isolated by the COVID-19 restrictions,” Mr Skoda said.

“The Virtual Veteran Visit ensured that they know, despite the current unusual circumstances, they have not been forgotten.”

Commander of 7th Combat Brigade, Brigadier Jason Blain, highlighted what it meant to the soldiers to stay connected with the local veteran community.

“Our veteran family serve as inspiration to those currently in uniform and we can learn a great deal by staying connected with soldiers from the past. The connection is important,” Brigadier Blain said.

“I was really impressed by the large number of soldiers volunteering to make phone calls. It showed they genuinely cared and that the experience was mutually beneficial.”

Brigadier Blain said the feedback from veterans and RSL Queensland was positive and the brigade would continue the initiative on a larger scale going forward, now that the concept has been proven successful.

“This first trial has been well received and was a great way to connect with our veteran community here in Queensland,” Brigadier Blain said.

“Now that we have the foundations in place, we will look to expand and make similar veteran phone calls for other significant events such as Remembrance Day or the anniversaries of notable battles like Long Tan.”

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