It was the warm weather, sunny skies and opportunity for a better lifestyle that encouraged Nerang RSL and Memorial Club member, Matt Ford, to make the move from the United Kingdom to the ‘land down under,’ six years ago. Calling the Coast his new home, Matt has become a regular face of Nerang RSL, and our resident car mechanic and we’re delighted to profile him in this month’s edition of The Stentorian.
Matt first stepped through the doors of Nerang RSL four years ago, when he was introduced to the club through his partner, Amy, and her family. Since then Matt has become involved in many aspects across our club.
“I was thrilled to have been introduced to a place like Nerang RSL, it’s a fantastic club with great members and friendly staff who are always up for a chat,” said Matt.
“I really enjoy being part of the Nerang RSL community and lending a hand wherever I can. Amy’s parents, Lyn and Guy, own Gala Promotions which does some promotional work
at the club, so that’s how I came across it and ever since, I’ve been able to get involved in hosting raffles and gaming promotions during the week and I’ve really come to know fellow members and staff along the way.”
When he’s not hosting raffles and promotions around the club, or getting out in the sunshine to coach kids’ soccer, Matt is working his magic on cars across the Coast – through his locally run mobile mechanic business, Quik Serve Mobile Mechanic.
“I started my business about two years ago and many of the staff members at the club found out and have been very supportive and keen to use my services, which is a great feeling,” said Matt.
“My customer base spans across the Coast but more often than not, you’ll find me parked in the Club’s car park!”
When asked what he most looks forward to after a hard days work, Matt says a visit to the RSL is always welcomed.
“The members and staff members are what truly make the club such a special place. Since day one, I’ve felt very welcomed and there’s always something happening at
the club whether it’s live music, games and promotions, or entertainment which makes for a fantastic atmosphere,” he said.
“Not to mention the club’s pizzas and chicken wings… I really enjoy those too,” he laughed.
For more information on Quik Serve Mobile Mechanic click www.facebook.com/QuikServes/
Keeping fit, healthy and getting involved in sporting events across the community is one way Nerang RSL and Memorial Club Sub Branch member, Sean De Gelder, now likes to spend his days. Often waking up at the crack of dawn to tackle his fitness goals, Sean has become involved in numerous triathlons, bike rides, and swimming carnivals and we’re delighted to profile the ex-serviceman, who is using his experiences to positively influence and encourage fellow veterans, in this edition of The Stentorian.
A veteran of International Force East Timor (INTERFET) and serving in 1999, 2006 and 2010, Sean was part of the multinational force which was formed to address the declining security and humanitarian state in East Timor. Following his time in the Defence Force, Sean began to experience the challenging effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was introduced to the Veteran Health Association (VHA) which he says assisted him greatly, and introduced him to the Sub Branch at Nerang RSL.
“I’m very thankful for the support I’ve received from the VHA and the gents at the Sub Branch and from the RSL itself, it has definitely made an impact on my life for the better,” said Sean.
“I know how exercise can assist with emotional health and I wanted to get into fitness so after speaking with the Sub Branch, they went out of their way to help me achieve that. I was keen to get involved in events like triathlons and before I knew it, the Sub Branch guys were going into sporting stores and speaking with other triathletes to put me in touch with the right people.
“It was really encouraging and it’s a nice feeling to know there are places in the community like Nerang RSL and the Sub Branch that want to help and provide support.”
On the back of a sponsorship from the Nerang RSL, Sean kicked off 2019 competing in the Queensland Triathlon Series. He pushed through a grueling 1.5km swim, 40km bike ride and a 10km run to claim a very commended 6th place!
“Sporting events can be quite expensive to compete in so I’m extremely thankful to the Nerang RSL for sponsoring my involvement in the Queensland Triathlon Series. I was able to purchase a bike and a custom made competition suit with the Club’s logo on it – that I wore with great pride,” said Sean.
“I did quite a bit of swimming and bike riding to prepare for the event and I’m generally happy with placing 6th in the Olympic distance category. Being my first Olympic distance triathlon, I was honestly just happy I was able to finish the event,” he laughed.
As part of his involvement in the Queensland Triathlon Series, Sean also represented PTSD Resurrected which runs a Reboot Combat Recovery course providing help for service members, first responders and their families.
Since graduating from the course alongside his wife, Leanne, Sean has become a mentor for Reboot and says the course has helped him manage the effects of PTSD and anxiety.
“The Reboot course, in addition to my own spiritual healing and church community, has helped me very much in the challenges I’ve faced with PTSD and anxiety,” said Sean.
“I completed the Reboot course at the start of 2018 and it was an experience that helped both Leanne and myself understand PTSD and anxiety, and ultimately what we were going through.
“I’m looking forward to being a mentor. I believe veterans that have experienced, or currently experience PTSD are often some of the best at helping others because they have a personal understanding and can share their experiences.”
Since becoming involved and receiving support from organisations and groups across the local community, Sean has referred a number of fellow veterans to these groups and says through also focusing on activities he enjoys, such as triathlons, he hopes to encourage others to step into something they enjoy.
“For me, competing in events like triathlons gives me something to focus on and look forward to. I enjoy putting my energy into setting fitness goals and training to achieve them, and it helps me maintain a healthy diet along the way too,” said Sean.
“I hope to compete in a few more triathlons this year, but I’m currently preparing for a swimming carnival in February and another in March as part of the Australian Imperial Forces. The carnival will be held in Melbourne and was originally formed for wounded veterans that returned from WW1 to help with their rehabilitation. All RSLs across Australia can get involved and it’s a great day and a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow veterans.
“I’ve found something I really enjoy doing and hope to encourage fellow veterans to do the same, whether it’s a new activity you might be interested in or a hobby you did previously that you enjoyed.
“Places like the Sub Branch at Nerang RSL are great environments to meet other veterans that you might share a similar interest with, or you could meet someone who can connect you with a contact. It’s great to have the support of Nerang RSL and the gents at the Sub Branch because it shows that there are people out there who care and it’s great to have that base support…Nerang RSL and Memorial Club is like no other.”
From a medic in the Navy and an avid rugby player, this month’s member in the spotlight knows a thing or two about working as a team, and the mateship that goes with it. That’s one of the reasons he first joined the Nerang RSL and we’re now delighted to share his story – meet, Mr. Bob Graham!
Since joining the Nerang RSL in 2011, Bob has become a familiar face to many – thanks to his involvement across the club in selling raffles for the Vietnam Veterans of Australia Association, maintaining the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Garden and simply, pulling up a pew in the #4211SportzBar.
Although a fan of the club’s hot chicken wings coupled with the perfect red, Bob says he was first drawn to the Nerang RSL for its sense of comradery and mateship in the community.
“I joined the Navy in 1968 as a medic onboard HMAS Moresby, which circumnavigated Australia doing survey work before traveling to Singapore and Jakarta,” he said.
“There was a very special bond formed with fellow military servicemen and servicewomen and it’s nice to be able to visit communities like Nerang RSL and Memorial Club to replicate that feeling.
“As part of my time in the Navy, I was also a member of the Navy Colts Under 21’s rugby team, which was great fun. If I had duty on the weekends on the base and had to play rugby that day, I would be assigned to the team coach as my duty, which meant I got to play rugby.
“The mateship I experienced – whether it was onboard or on the footy field, is something I’ll never forget and it’s that same sense of spirit I feel, whenever I walk into the Nerang RSL.”
Bob also dedicated twenty-five years to the Department of Civil Aviation where he was a flight service officer and air traffic controller in various locations across Australia, before finishing his working life on the Gold Coast as a Surfside Bus Driver.
And since joining the Nerang RSL, Bob has become involved in regular volunteer work at the club and you’ll often find him selling meat raffle tickets or maintaining the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Garden.
“I was truly honoured to have been nominated as caretaker of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Garden,” he said.
“I believe it’s a sign of respect to those who passed or didn’t return from service, to ensure the memorial gardens are well maintained. It’s a place of reflection and remembrance, so I take pride in keeping the gardens in shape, whether it be watering them or completing general maintenance as required.
“When I’m not caretaking, I sell meat raffles as part of the Vietnam Veterans of Australia Association to support different functions and community groups.
“I do this alongside three of my mates who are also ex-servicemen and we really enjoy the opportunity to get involved. There’s a lot of banter and comradery between us too! The Nerang RSL is certainly a special place and I simply couldn’t pick a better community to be part of.”
‘A man of many talents’ – that’s how most people describe Nerang RSL’s member of the month, Ben Samin.
Whether you’ve seen him performing with the globally renowned band Madison Kat, coaching champion martial artists, or working behind the scenes at one of Nerang RSL’s reputable services – Ben’s ‘community spirit’ is one of his most notable traits.
With a background in architectural and engineer model making, Ben joined Nerang RSL more than a decade ago and after taking on several different roles across the Club, is now a regarded board member.
Ben first joined the Nerang RSL after a stint with his popular band Madison Kat – first known as the ‘Gold Coasters’ – when he travelled with the American Army to Vietnam to provide some respite for soldiers.
“The 1970s were a standout year for our family-run show band. My brothers and I were able to travel to Vietnam to perform and provide a bit of Christmas fun and respite to the soldiers, at a time when they needed it most,” he said.
“We spent three months in Vietnam and it was a great feeling to see the effect music, and some extra support, could have on the soldiers and I still to this day remember the smiles on their faces. It’s an experience that I’ll never forget and that feeling of providing mateship and support is mirrored at the Nerang RSL and it’s one of the reasons I was keen to get involved in the Club.”
Fifty years on and Madison Kat now performs as a third-generation band. Ben’s sons and nephew have all embraced the band and continue to rock it out weekly.
However music isn’t the only thing Ben holds close to his heart, but also Martial Arts. He’s a local coach at Nerang PCYC and the Australasian Martial Art Studies (AMAS) Principal. Ben was also chosen by late Master of Bu Di Zhen Kung Fu to re-write family history and guide future directions of Bu Di Zhen Kung Fu.
“I really enjoy teaching martial arts and guiding my students to set and reach goals in the sport,” he said.
“I’ve taught 24 Australian Champions and recently returned from Japan where one of my students came second in the Open Championship’s. Nothing beats that feeling of seeing students compete and have ‘that moment’ when they realise their hard work is paying off – whether in training or on the world stage – it’s a large part of why I do what I do.
“We often sell raffle tickets at Nerang RSL to raise money for our students to compete in tournaments and competitions across the globe, so it’s great to also have the support of the community.”
Ben says he’s very humbled to be part of the Nerang RSL community and since joining the RSL Board over six years ago, continues to enjoy the opportunities it brings.
“I’ve really enjoyed being able to work alongside the team on the RSL Board and get involved in our local community,” said Ben.
“It’s very busy and there’s always something to do, whether helping to organise one of our many services like Remembrance and ANZAC Day or attending meetings and helping out with community projects, but I wouldn’t change it.
“It’s a nice feeling to know I’m doing my part to help out across the community and I’ve met so many great people in the process.”