By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on September 6, 2019
RECENTLY elected Mount Barker RSL President Maurice Draper admits he felt lost when he returned home after years of naval service.
He attributes his reconnection to his family, friends and society to the people within the Mt Barker branch of RSL.
It is because of this that he is extremely proud to be part of the branch’s 100th anniversary this year which will be celebrated with a dinner next weekend.
“The RSL saved me,” Mr Draper told the Weekender.
“I felt absolutely lost when I came back…you know when you play a sport, and if you throw or kick the ball to your team mate, you can rely on them? Well, you go from that sort of situation in sometimes very extreme circumstances, and you make very important decisions, and then you go back to civilian life.”
“Being able to be with similar people, who talk the same language, it makes a huge difference,” Brian Bunker, Mt Barker RSL member of nearly 50 years, added.
Mr Bunker served in the Vietnam War and was invited to join Mt Barker RSL when he returned home.
He too, is grateful for the people within the organisation.
“It’s the comradeship,” Mr Bunker said.
“It became a big thing after the Second World War because people were
coming home pretty bewildered.”
The men believe the Mt Barker RSL is one of the longest running RSLs in the state.
“It’s a great achievement,” Mr Draper said.
“It’s something we can hold our heads quite high about and be proud of.”
The Mt Barker RSL 100th anniversary dinner will be held at Mt Barker Golf Club on September 14.