Young war medic becomes a legatee after losing mate
LOSING a close friend in the Afghanistan conflict was heart-breaking for medic Danial Payne, especially seeing his mate's family left behind.
The Hervey Bay veteran, 29, found comfort in the fact the family was looked after by volunteers from Legacy, a not-for-profit charity providing services to Australian families suffering after the injury or death of a spouse or parent during or after their defence force service.
He knew he wanted to get involved and is now a volunteer for the Hervey Bay branch.
Mr Payne said being a legatee was intrinsic for him because of his background in the health industry.
"I was a medic in the Australian Army for seven years," Mr Payne said.
"For me personally, I like helping other people and it doesn't have to be in a big way, it can be in a small way.
"That's more rewarding than going and doing a million night shifts and earning a lot of money and it's easy to do too."
Hervey Bay Legacy Group inducted Mr Payne last week and he has started training, which he fits in around his job as an enrolled nurse.
"It's a bit of a learning curve for me because it's not an easy task to talk to brand-new widows," he said.
"They're (Legacy) going to take me under their wing and coach me on those processes they have in place to get me ready to help those people for when they do lose their loved ones.
"Sometimes the widows are from a generation where maybe the male had been doing most of the paperwork for them and then they're a little bit stuck."
He said he encouraged his friends from the army to join Legacy not just to support widows but from a personal standpoint.
"It helps socially for me," he said.
"Getting together with these guys, I still get something out of it, that's rewarding for me.
"We've all got the same bad humour and over a beer after our induction meetings there was some good rivalry going on between the different forces.
"I've seen the benefits already by coming in and saying hi to these guys and seeing the differences between generations and so I'm trying to get some of my mates in there too."
Hervey Bay Legacy Group vice-chairman Col Campbell said the organisation had about 350 widows in their care and were seeking new members like Mr Payne.
"We are finding it difficult to recruit new and younger members to our organisation," Mr Campbell said.
"The numbers of widows and war veterans from earlier conflicts are reducing with the passage of time but younger families of veterans from later conflicts are being accepted into Legacy.
"However legatees are getting older and numbers are also diminishing and there is a pressing need to attract younger and more active veterans and like-minded members of the public to keep the promise alive."
Mr Campbell said members didn't have to be ex-servicemen or women and anyone interested should phone Legacy for more details on 4194 5111 between 9am-1pm, Tuesday to Friday.