Partners aim to reduce veterans’ isolation

SERVING in the Defence Force is a huge commitment, often involving dangerous situations and travel far from home.

Aside from Australian Defence Force members, few know the depth of this commitment more than the partners and families of those who serve.

The Partners of Veterans Association of Australia Inc is one organisation who works to support the partners of enlisted Aussies.

Alison Bowman, vice-president of the organisations Queensland State Management Committee said the group formed in 1999 and aims to connect with veterans partners across the country. They attempt to raise general awareness of partners' issues and the values and achievements of the association.

"What we're trying to do is reduce the isolation of partners of veterans," she said.

"Isolation is a big one, by us forming this association we're able to reach out."

She said partners of veterans face specific challenges, like providing mental and physical care to ex-service men and women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Fraser Coast branch is hosting this year's annual general meeting in Maryborough and the event will feature a special Mary Heritage tour, guest speakers and lifestyle information.

It will be held on Monday until Tuesday at the Maryborough RSL.

The association is open to the partners of anybody who has served in the in the Defence Force and Mrs Bowman says new members will be welcomed with open arms.

She said they would love to connect with new and younger partners, who may not be aware of the Partners of Veterans Association.

"In Queensland we have a membership of 404 but many partners who aren't members benefit from the work we do," she said.

The groups' achievements include earning recognition and acceptance within the ex-service community and advocating on behalf of members to resolve Centrelink issues.

They've also fought to have the age limit made open ended for children of Vietnam Veterans to receive counselling from the Veterans and Veterans Family Counselling Service.

The Fraser Coast Branch meets in rotation at Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Childers.

To find out more, contact Alison Bowman on 4122 4468.

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