Observance of ANZAC Day and its commemorative rituals are important in our hospital. The ANZAC commemoration goes beyond the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli in 1915 and is often considered a time when values that are considered core to our national identity such as courage, sacrifice and mateship, were forged. It is a day we take time to remember all Australians who served and died in war and we especially honour each of our veterans who are treated in our hospitals.

Every year on ANZAC eve, Mission Integration Manager Julie Wain and I have the privilege of visiting each veteran inpatient. These visits are always a powerful reminder of the impact that war inflicts upon people, families and communities.

One of the patients I met is 45-year-old Damian Crilly who joined the Royal Australian Navy at age 19. Damian was inspired to join the navy by his elder brother who was already serving in the navy. Damian was deployed to the Gulf War in 1992 where he was stationed at the Red Sea as a peacekeeping force for 6 months. He reminisced the moment he came home, the sense of relief to be able to reunite with his family and being filled with pride when hundreds of people lined the shores of Sydney Harbour to celebrate the return of their nation’s heroes. He felt lucky to be able to see his son grow up, because often the navy spend so much time at sea that they don’t get to watch their children grow.

Damian and I

Damien is now a qualified social worker at Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) where he helps troubled youth who are displaced from their parents, by mentoring and supporting them. A lot of these adolescents are affected by trauma, so he finds the job rewarding when he is able to help these young people progress the best they can in their environment.

Besides that, Damian is addicted to the gym and keeping fit. His recent spine injury is due to the wear and tear from constant training but he is hopeful that the recent spinal fusion performed by Mr. Jin Tee, spine and neurosurgeon, coupled with rehabilitation, will help him get back to resuming his fitness regime soon. He is also hopeful about being able to catch the Storm vs. Warriors rugby game tonight at Melbourne’s AAMI Park. We wish Damian all the very best in his recovery.

Julie Wain (Mission Integration Manager), Father Zaher (Hospital Chaplain), 
Dr Christopher Scarff (Anaesthetist) and 
Fiona Mckinnon (Acting Executive Director of Mission) 
at St Vincent’s Hospital ANZAC Day Reflection

We bring our thanks this day for the peace and security we enjoy, which was won for us through the courage and devotion of those who gave their lives in time of war.

Lest we forget.