Digging deep to give veterans a leg-up

HEART OF GOLD: Veteran Keith Pitman has thanked all in Ballarat for their generosity during this year's Anzac Appeal, which helps raise money for diggers and their families who are doing it tough financially. Picture: Kate Healy

HEART OF GOLD: Veteran Keith Pitman has thanked all in Ballarat for their generosity during this year's Anzac Appeal, which helps raise money for diggers and their families who are doing it tough financially. Picture: Kate Healy

RSL volunteer Keith Pitman has been moved by an outpouring of generosity and kindness in Ballarat for this year’s Anzac Appeal, which raises money for veterans and their families.

“In one day I raised over $1600 in nine hours and $300 of this was donations alone, so people are supporting it really well,” he said.

Mr Pitman has worked with the RSL for more than 30 years, and has been selling badges along Howitt Street and in Lucas. Aged an impressive 81, Keith has a long association with the Australian armed forces.

After growing up in Jeparit he decided to enlist when he was 17 in 1953 amid the Korean War.

However, in a stroke of luck, the armistice was signed when he was still training at Puckapunyal. 

“I’d decided to sign up because I owned a truck, so I wanted to get my national service out of the way and then get back to working,” he said.

It’s often forgotten that all Australian men aged 18 were forced to sign up for military training during the Korean War.