Honoured Terry carries a torch for legacy

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By Tania Phillips

He’s put in a lot of hours for Legacy over the year’s but Terry Dillon vice chairman of the Sunshine Coast Legacy Group wouldn’t change a thing and doesn’t expect thanks.

However, the Vietnam Veteran admits he was honoured to be asked to take part in the Centenary of Legacy Relay when it reached the Sunshine Coast earlier this month. Accompanied by his son and partner, Terry was one of just 275 torch bearers to carry the flame during the Queensland leg of the relay.

“Because I’ve been in Legacy 44 years, I got selected to take part in carrying of the torch on 7 June,” he said.

For Terry it was a lovely moment in a long association with legacy that began back in the late 70s.

“In 1978 I’d been home from Vietnam for about eight or nine years and chap said to me on Anzac day, why don’t you join legacy,” he said.

“I said, what’s legacy so he explained it so in the march of 1979 I decided that this was something I really wanted to do. Since then, I’ve been involved with – first of all legacy on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria and now up here on the Sunshine Coast. I’ve been here since 2005.”

Since then he has been helping to support the widows of ex-servicemen through the invaluable organisation.

“It varies how many I have at this very moment I’ve only got about 18 widows but I have had more than thirty,” he said.

“I believe it’s a rewarding thing to do. These widow, their husbands have fought in a war – because legacy supports all widows where their husband has either died at war or subsequently of injuries caused by war. So, they’ve been to a combat zone. Not only Australian but we have our allies as well, obviously New Zealand if they’re here, English, French, Belgium, United States – we have had all of these who have been widows. The US ones sometimes they married a Marine and went back to USA after their husband died they returned to Australia.

“They all come under our umbrella.

“Some of the husbands of course, going back when they were married in the 40s and later – of course now we’re getting new widows but that’s another story. But back then the husband did everything, they did the banking, they did everything financial, they looked after the rates and the housing so when they die the widows doesn’t know what to do so we step in and make sure they get what they are entitled to as far as they’re pensions are concerned and we make any applications for them for a war widows pension. That’s so rewarding. When they get their gold card for medical, they ring and they’re so happy and relieved. I get more kick out of it then they do.”

He said while he wasn’t personally looking after younger widows from more recent conflicts the Sunshine Coast group had some they were guiding now.

“We have about 760 widows and their dependents on the Sunshine Coast now, we assist the children with their schooling up until they’re 18 and then if they want to continue on to university we also support them until they’re 25,” Terry said.

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