THE centenary of any organisation in Australia is a huge milestone, and members of the Mount Barker RSL are immensely proud of their organisation achieving this significant goal.
Recently elected branch president Maurice Draper described feeling lost when he returned home after 28 years of naval service, until he found a reconnection to family, friends and community through the members of the Mt Barker branch of RSL.
Mr Draper found an affinity with like minded people with similar shared, lived experiences, whether through the army, navy or air force.
“RSL members often have had similar experiences and can speak the same language,” Mr Draper said.
He found the camaraderie within the organisation incredibly supportive and meaningful, and believed that the RSL had a strong theme of respect and moral support, and promoted a spirit of remembrance in the community.
The challenges he experienced readjusting to a non-military lifestyle were complex at times, and the RSL had enabled his transition back to ‘normal’ through strong networks of former military members, newfound friends and a respectful community environment.
“I have lifelong friendships made through the RSL. We support each other and have formed valuable bonds,” he said.
Members believe the Mt Barker RSL is one of the longest-running branches in the State.
Mr Draper said he was looking forward to the 100th anniversary dinner, to be held at the Mt Barker Golf Club on Saturday night.