© Copyright 2023 - "One Central West" FM88
Legacy Australia Chairman Eric Easterbrook OAM talked about the ongoing tragedy life could be in the forces when he told a large crowd of people at the Botanic Gardens, a military chopper had been downed with 4 personnel aboard at Hamilton Island overnight.
The four men are understood to be from the Holsworthy army barracks.
He was launching the Orange leg of the Legacy Torch Relay.
“While these families will be battling to come to terms with their tragic, the loss of their loved ones, Legacy will continue, like it has for 100 years, to support them and their families,” he said.
Mr Easterbrook congratulated World War 11 veteran Tom Hogan, who, at 98, had come to the event to help cut the ribbon for the 20 walkers. The spirit of community is told from beginning to Relay end.
Mr Hogan said he was proud to be there.
“I am very privileged to be here, and I thank the organisers for thinking of me. I think this is a special day as a member of Legacy for 45 years,” Mr Hogan said.
“Tom Hogan is a treasure and a real Orange patriot.” Federal Member for Andrew Gee said.
Alongside War widow Nora Bridges and Orange Legacy President Edward Furze, Mr Hogan a former bomber commando in the Philippines cut the ribbon cut and torch lit.
Ed Furze was honoured to be the first walker.
“We are so excited that we are also 75 years old Orange Legacy and proud to be the first walker. We became part of this wonderful organisation in 1948 at Canobolas Hotel, and I am here for and inspired by my father-in-law a member of the armed forces who was a legatee himself from Orange and who was a prisoner of war in Stalag 13 and in Italy.”
Nora Bridges said she too was proud to be a legatee.
“My late husband was in the Navy so it’s a great great organisation and the way they have looked after mums and children is wonderful and it is an honour to be here.” Ms Bridges walked two legs of the relay, her family cheering her on.
Mr Furze led a procession of defence force personnel down Hill Street and soon met up with walker and local John Mullen, who recalled the war days “My father was in Legacy and so am I, and he was a great man.”
Anette whose grandmother was a legatee and father-in-law fought in Changi reflected on the heroes of Australian forces who had given so much, and their widows had been supported by Legacy.
She handed to local James Linton “I am a legatee and look out and look after several widows and so we do what we can. ”
Namoi 17 and Travis Wright, 14 were the youngest on the walk and their proud mother, Meredie, said Legacy is one of the most respected organisations in Australia. “Their great grandfather was in World War 2, and Legacy looked after their grand mum.”
“This is so important for them.” She said.
Naomi said ” This makes myself and my brother proud.”
The stories continued of a community that embraced the 100 years of sacrifice. When the sun was outshone by Orange’s unpredictable weather, people rushed to Legacy House and while the flame had been somewhat doused by heavy rain, Gillian Street, a World War II veteran and Legatee, unveiled a plaque with Mr Easterbrook and Ed Furze.
“She’s a beautiful Legatee and embodies why we do this”, Mr Easterbrook said. Mrs Street just smiled.