How Legacy makes a difference with little things
AMANDA Kable did not think she and her children needed Legacy after her husband died but she cannot put a price on what the organisation has given them.
The gratitude in her eyes is unmistakable when she talks about Legatee Wally Farquhar, whose listening ear and watchful eye has made life that bit easier for them.
Wally has been to nearly all of her son Liam's football games. He and his wife sat in the audience at her daughter Tahlia's school concert.
"I was very touched because he never knew us from a bar of soap and he's gone out of his way for myself and my kids," Amanda said.
"He's got a family of his own, grandchildren, and he's put that time aside for us."
It will be six years this November since Amanda's husband, Jake, died, leaving a gaping hole in the family when Liam and Tahlia were aged 14 and 11.
A veteran of 14 years in the army, the strapping former SAS soldier has seemed indestructible until the sudden appearance of a lump on his neck led to a diagnosis of stage four melanoma.
Tough as they come, he fought on to stay with his family for another three-and-a-half years.
It never occurred to Amanda, of Currimundi, to ask for help after his death.
"I'm a very private person. I would never have reached out to Legacy if it wasn't for my mother," she said.
"I'd heard about them but I thought, 'I can do this myself.' I think you're in denial at first.
"My mum took it upon herself to ring Legacy and she came to my place and said, 'We've got a meeting.'"
At that meeting at the Caloundra RSL, Wally explained to Amanda how Legacy could help with things like tutoring for the kids, as it is not uncommon for children to struggle at school after the death of a parent.
She learned that Legacy could even provide assistance with teenagers' plans for life after school.
But she said just being able to talk to someone from a Defence Force background had made a difference to her family.
"Even though Liam had seen a counsellor, he felt he could bond more with Wally. He had a bit in common," she said.
"Wally was in the Navy and could relate. Wally approached Liam in a way that wasn't like a counsellor. It was a softer approach. That helped a lot."
Amanda knows how much Wally has meant to Liam and Tahlia.
"Liam would go up to him after every football match and shake his hand and say thanks for coming. I didn't have to tell him to do that," she said.
"Tahlia keeps a diary and she had written the date that Wally and his wife came to see her performance in a concert at school.
"When she wrote that in her diary, I was blown away. She said she couldn't believe they came.
"He's really involved and I couldn't ask for someone better. I've been very, very lucky, especially being the person I am, a very private person. "
Wally has not just been there for the kids, but has also been someone for Amanda to talk to.
"No way would I let a person into my private life, but with Wally, I'm an open book. I don't even have to ring him. It's like he has ESP."
Wally has not been Amanda's only support. Her brother, Nathan, lives with her and the kids and helps out.
And during Legacy week, he puts a few hours aside to man a stall selling merchandise to raise money for the charity.
"I just like to give something back to Legacy," he said.
Amanda also hopes to do for someone else what Wally has done her family as a Legatee.
"When my kids are grown up, this is something maybe I'd like to do as well," she said.
They hope more people join Legacy to keep the organisation and its good work going for the sake of other bereaved spouses and their children in the future.
"There should be young ones coming up, especially with what's going on in the world at the moment," Amanda said.
"There's going to be more war widows. I don't like to say it but it's true."
She said that helping Legacy was a practical way for people to show their appreciation to servicemen and women.
"We have our freedom from our defence forces. We wouldn't have the freedom and and choices we can make without them, and I don't think people remember what they're sacrificing."
The demand on Legacy services continues to grow with the organisation supporting 10 new young families in south-east Queensland every month.
The organisation's support extends to the families of veterans from all conflicts since World War One to current serving Australian Defence Force members.
More than 50,000 Australians have travelled to Vietnam, Malaya, Borneo, Somalia, Rwanda, East Timor and the Middle East to serve in wars, conflicts and peace keeping missions.
Legacy has found a rising number of new families of East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans need support.
Legacy Brisbane and Sunshine Coast chief executive officer Brendan Cox said the need for support was likely to extend beyond 2081 based on the nation's current involvement in conflicts.
"Throughout the decades, Legacy's mission has not changed but the families we care for have," he said.
Legacy community services manager Christina Davidson said Legacy offered the same stability, guidance and assistance that a partner would normally offer to his or her family.
But she said every family had different needs, and those with children and young people could need higher support, particularly with education, socialisation and grief management.
Mr Cox urged Coast residents to support families like the Kables by joining Legacy.
"We need more Legatees than every. It's only due to Legatees that we're able to care for the hundreds of young families who need support now or will need it in the future," he said.
"With the help of the community, our goal is to be able to live up to our promise to care for the families of local men and women who are currently serving, and those yet to serve, should the worst ever happen."
To find out about becoming a Legattee, phone 1800 534 229, email email@example.com or visit www.legacy.com.au/Legatees.