IT has been 40 years since Australian troops were withdrawn from the Vietnam War.
But Legacy’s mission to care for the widows and children of Australian servicemen and women continues to be relevant today, according to legatee and Ballarat Legacy president Peta Gillespie.
Legacy Week begins today as about 35 volunteers hit the streets and supermarket floor to sell badges, bears, (wrist) bands and biros to help fund Legacy’s community work.
Their aim, to raise $50,000 to care for Ballarat’s more than 800 widows as well as a small number of primary, secondary and even tertiary students.
“Legacy Week is our major fundraiser of the year, and every dollar raised stays in Ballarat,” Ms Gillespie said.
“Ballarat Legacy looks after about 800 widows and our associated branches at Bacchus Marsh, Ballan, Maryborough and St Arnaud support another 300.
“Without Legacy Week we would have trouble. We rely on community generosity.”
About 60,000 Australians have served overseas in wars and peacekeeping operations since the Vietnam War ended. Legacy supports widows and children of those who died in those operations or subsequently, although the majority receiving help in Ballarat are widows from World War I, World War II, the Korea War and Vietnam.
Legacy Week was officially launched by Ballarat mayor John Burt at the Town Hall, with former mayor Mark Harris a Legacy ambassador. Dr Harris served in peacekeeper operations in Bougainville and EastTimor with the 8/7 Royal Victorian Regiment.
Legacy badges are priced from $2 to $50.