Moama RSL calls in the troops for memorial garden

By Andrew Mole

FIRST lesson in the army?

Never volunteer for anything.

Unless you happen to be temporarily posted to a small country town, where some of the local RSL veterans could do with a helping hand.

So Lieutenant Brooke McGregor, 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australia Regiment, quickly put together a squad of ‘volunteers’ and had them trucked to the Moama RSL.

A welcome change of scenery from their vital current role of helping man the NSW/Victoria border crossing in the twin towns to create a necessary COVID-19 barrier.

Moama RSL sub-branch president Ken Jones had asked for a hand with the sub-branch’s Memorial Garden and the army was only too happy to help.

But Ken said his request had another purpose — it was a chance for the young troops sent down here from their Queensland base to spend a little time with Moama veterans.

“It was a good opportunity for the veterans of today mingle with the veterans of the future — and it turned out they were bloody good gardeners too,” Ken said.

“And quick; I thought we have a few hours of work lined up, but so many of them came they knocked it over double time. We were very grateful.”

Lt McGregor said the soldiers were more than happy to help out.

“As well as a change of scenery, when they are not on guard duty at the bridge there’s only so much they can do,” she said.

“And it was an honour to help out the veterans at the local RSL — who knows, if we are here for a while we might make it a regular second job for the troops.”