How RSL NSW is supporting veterans in the fire and rescue community

With the re-establishment of the NSW Fire Brigades RSL sub-Branch, serving and former Defence personnel in Fire and Rescue NSW have access to a network of essential support and services.

At a glance:

  • The NSW Fire Brigades RSL sub-Branch was first formed after WWI to facilitate repatriation and medical support.
  • Members made the difficult decision to hand back its charter in the 1980s as membership dipped.
  • The sub-Branch has now been re-established and its membership is growing fast as firefighters in the RSL NSW community are registering with the new sub-Branch.
  • “[The RSL] is no longer a club for old men,” says sub-Branch President Greg Houston. “It’s a progressive organisation and [younger members] are coming round.”

More than 400 current and former Defence personnel who work for Fire and Rescue NSW now have access to an enhanced support network as RSL NSW re-establishes the NSW Fire Brigades RSL sub-Branch to support veterans in the fire and rescue community.

The sub-Branch was first formed in the 1920s following WWI, when its main purpose was to facilitate repatriation and medical support, before being disbanded in the 1980s due to low membership numbers.

The recent reforming of the sub-Branch allows veterans who have continued their service to community in a new form outside Defence to build stronger bonds with peers of a shared background.

Superintendent Greg Houston, who was elected President of the sub-Branch in late 2023, says many firefighters in the RSL NSW community are now registering with the NSW Fire Brigades RSL sub-Branch.

“We kicked off late last year with 16 members,” he explains. “But it’s almost daily that we receive inquiries to join the sub-Branch. So word is getting out there, and we’ve received a very positive response from RSL NSW and the fire and rescue community.”

In the video below, Greg and sub-Branch Secretary Peter Stathis share more about the history of the sub-Branch and the value of a support network for veterans in the fire and rescue community.

Whether you’ve served for a single day or decades, RSL NSW welcomes veterans of any service length – and any career background – to join the organisation. Access support services and become part of a like-minded community of peers by becoming a member of RSL NSW.

Image © Sam Ruttyn, The Sunday Telegraph

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