New England Citizens of the Year recognised for humanitarian work

26th Januay 2016

An interview with Jennifer Ingall from ABC News

A man who has made it his mission to help returned servicemen and women has been named Glen Innes Citizen of the Year.

Gordon Taylor has been part of the Returned Services League for 15 years and helps veterans and ex-servicemen and women seek the help they need — particularly regarding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Mr Taylor himself served in the Navy from 1969–1973. "It was a big adventure for a country kid to go to the city and to go to sea, not ever having really seen the sea," he told ABC's Kelly Fuller.

Mr Taylor said it was mostly an enjoyable time, but he has since battled with PTSD and knows how important it is to seek help. But he said unfortunately most returned soldiers just wanted to forget the war when they returned home.

"It's hard to contact all the people and get them the help they need, and many of them are suffering pretty badly; especially those who served in Afghanistan," he said.

"Veterans affairs is starting to make some inroads into assisting, but mostly [soldiers] just want to be out and away from it." According to Mr Taylor, getting help requires getting into the system, which could be a difficult task.

"It's pretty daunting to have to go and front up to a great big panel of people and basically spill your guts. Not many people like doing it," he said.

Mr Taylor was also honoured for his work with school children, highlighting the problems of depression, and with the families of veterans, through a special Anzac dawn service, that drew a crowd of about 1,000.

"We go round to all the graves of the veterans who have passed away in the past year and unveil their graves, and their families come along and speak,," Mr Taylor said.

See also an interview with Craig Thomson of the Glen Innes Examiner