The newly elected president of Goulburn Legacy has cited the need to draw modern day war veterans into the organisation as a key priority.
Mick Shea stressed he was in no way dishonouring older veterans who gave their time to the charitable organisation's work.
"Goulburn Legacy looks after 140 widows and a few special needs people," he told The Post.
"In 10 years time that will probably be only about 50 widows so how relevant Legacy will be is dependent on us bringing the next generation of Legatees in and letting them take it in the direction it needs to go."
But reaching this generation was not as easy. Unlike World Wars One and Two, Defence Force men and women were not serving together enmasse or emerging in large numbers as "comrades," Mr Shea said. The mental and physical wounds of war were also throwing up challenges in connecting with these people and raising questions on how Legacy should look after their families.
Mr Shea, a National Serviceman from 1969-71, was inducted as Goulburn Legacy president at a changeover dinner on Friday night. Sixty-four people attended the Goulburn Soldiers Club event, including Legacy Australia chairman, Rick Cranna OAM, and representatives of local service organisations.
Mr Shea succeeds president of the last two years, Bill Harding. It's his second term, having also taken on the top job in 2005-06, one year after joining Goulburn Legacy at the late Peter Ashton's instigation.
He told Friday's function that while ever there were war widows in Goulburn and district, Legacy would remain.
In his outgoing address, Mr Harding said it had been a great honour to be president.
"I have spent nearly 40 years as a member of service organisations but this would have to be the proudest and most rewarding time of all," he said.
"...Being able to represent this club at functions and to be introduced as the president of Goulburn Legacy is pretty special. It was for me."
Laying a wreath at the ANZAC Day service with his war widow mother was a particular highlight.
Mr Harding made special mention of office manager Linda Marchet, who he said went "above and beyond expectations" in her role.
Guest speaker Rick Cranna, who lived and worked in Goulburn for four years from 1990 and was part of the its Legacy Club, said people warmly appreciated the organisation's work, as evidenced by the reception during Appeals Week.
"Legacy's widow numbers are dropping, as are Legatees, which is a worry because to maintain good governance, it has to be manned by quality people," he said.
"We've all seen what has happened to the RSL and it would be terrible if that occurred with Legacy."
Also on Friday, Goulburn City Lions Club president John Flarrety handed over a $5000 donation to Legacy. Goulburn Rotary president Bruce Hammond also donated $500 on behalf of the club.
Representatives from other Legacy branches, Goulburn Mulwaree Rotary Club president Graeme Neill, Goulburn Argyle Rotary Club president Doug Walker and Upper Lachlan Shire Mayor John Stafford and wife Tracey Avery, were among the guests. Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Bob Kirk was an apology.
The evening included a minute's silence for Legatees Peter Ashton and Maurice Woods who died during the year.
The Goulburn Legacy office bearers for 2019/21 are:
- President - Mick Shea;
- Senior vice-president - Don Pennay;
- Junior vice-president - Greg Seaman;
- Past president - Bill Harding;
- Honorary secretary - John Broadhead;
- Assistant secretary - Jean Lloyd;
- Honorary treasurer - Justin Hawkins;
- Assistant treasurer - Dean Ferraris;
- Public officer - John Broadhead;
- Braidwood Torchbearers Liaison officer - Maureen Faviell;
- Rosemary Club liaison officer - Don Pennay;
- Widows Club liaison officer - Mike Keegan;
- Sergeant at Arms - Bruce Herrett.
- The author is public relations officer for Goulburn Legacy.