Some five years ago, the William Kibby VC Veterans’ Shed was contacted by a now 60 year old man who told of his horrific treatment as a 15 year old Junior Rating at the now infamous Naval Training base, HMAS Leeuwin.
We approached the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) to be told that unless he reported these incidents, there was nothing that could be done to help.
We then approached the office of Senator Nick Xenophon, Independent Senator for South Australia. His office was horrified to hear the story our man told about his experiences then, and his life since.
I am not going to go on about what has happened to this man since those early days, but the slow wheels of justice have turned and now this chap will have some comforts, which have been long overdue, to help him in the remainder of his life.
During his more recent years, our friend became involved with our Veterans’ Shed and in particular with restoring old bikes, seven of them, to be exact. This man now lives around 200km north of Adelaide so the bikes were transported to him.
It took some months work for him to complete the restoration and once it was done the decision needed to be made to whom they would be donated.
It has now become common knowledge about the dreadful fires in South Australia of more recent times.
Several weeks ago our friend was at home when he received a knock on his door and he opened it to see several people from the Red Cross asking for a donation to support the victims of the recent fires at Pinery in South Australia.
He told them that he was a pensioner and that he could not afford to give money, however he asked if there was anything else he could help with and they replied that they would take anything because so many people had lost the lot.
'How would you like seven bikes?’ our man asked.
‘That would wonderful,' was the reply.
The bikes were given to people who had lost everything and our bloke was told that he had just given seven people he didn’t know a wonderful Christmas present.
You can imagine how that lifted our bloke’s spirits and considering he is a man who has spent so long feeling he has nothing to give, he has given seven people the present of a lifetime.
We at the Shed are pretty proud of that story.