On behalf of 2.1 million members, RACV is continuing its century-old tradition of coordinating volunteers to transport veterans to the ANZAC Day march. Marking 101 years of providing this service, this year RACV has coordinated more than 100 volunteers, including 20 historical vehicle drivers, to help transport over 70 veterans from across Melbourne and nearby areas including Mornington, Red Hill, Woori Yallock, Coburg and Newport.
Tomorrow, veterans who have requested the service will be picked up at their homes, driven to the city, and then in the march to the Shrine of Remembrance. The march along St Kilda Road starts at 9am and finishes at the Shrine around 1pm for the Commemorative Service. The volunteers will then drive the veterans home.
The tradition of ensuring veterans can take part in the march, regardless of mobility levels, is a proud one for RACV. During World War I, RACV members volunteered their time and vehicles to collect returning soldiers and nurses from ships at Station Pier and Princes Pier in Port Melbourne. By war’s end, 93,330 returnees had been transported to hospital or to military barracks. It was a monumental task for a membership of only 1,400. This became a defining moment in RACV’s history as it earned the automobile club its Royal prefix. Ever since, RACV has continued to help transport veterans to commemorative services including the ANZAC Day march since its inception.
“RACV is proud to continue our century-old tradition of helping our veterans attend the ANZAC march so they may be properly honoured for all that they have given to our country,” said Megan Ballantyne, RACV Acting General Manager for Community and Corporate Responsibility. “Only through the continued efforts and support of volunteers can RACV help support the ANZAC Day march, which has become so important to our veterans and their families.”
“ANZAC Day is an enormously rewarding day for our team of volunteers who often build strong friendships with their designated veterans and look forward to catching up with them each year,” Ms Ballantyne continued. “For example, one of our volunteers has supported this effort for over 17 years and now, his son is also a volunteer and has been for the last ten years. It’s such a rewarding experience for everyone involved.”
If you would like to volunteer or know a veteran in need of this service for next year’s ANZAC Day, please contact Lisa Hogan at RACV on (03) 9790 2975.