How you help Joe the Vietnam veteran

A career that began as a 20-year-old in Vietnam

Updated 11 Feb 2024 (first published Feb 2024)

Meet Joe Cazey, who is our dedicated hero for VIP Heroes Draw 12. Joe’s story is a familiar one. Enlisting in the army straight out of school, he trained as a Field Engineer, and was deployed to Vietnam when he was only 20 years old. This posting would go on to have a lasting impact on his life – one that he wouldn’t fully understand until decades later.

I’d been in denial for a very, very long time and once I had that bit of a shake up and scare, I realised that there was probably a lot more not working as it should.

Enlisting as a Field Engineer

Joe Cazey served in the Royal Australian Engineers as a Field Engineer for 25 years, where he was deployed in Vietnam early in his career, and then went onto other locations, including Papua New Guinea, Singapore and the Middle East.

Joe had always wanted to study engineering after finishing high school, but the credit squeeze of the 1960’s had hit home, making it difficult to find opportunities in the building industry, so Joe enlisted in the Australian Army to complete his studies.

Being deployed to Vietnam as a young, 20-year-old officer, the experience made a big impact on him.

“My Field Engineering unit was always involved in many different activities. We were out with the cavalry in their APC’s, and we were out with the infantry soldiers,” Joe said.

Our squadron was unofficially known as ‘the tunnel rats’. If tunnels were discovered, we were the people who went down into the tunnels to clear them.

“We built things, we knocked things down and we laid mines, we destroyed booby traps and provided services, such as water supply.”

Emotional scars that weren’t healing

Joe was having flashbacks to his time in Vietnam. There was one particularly traumatic event where he and his soldiers were laying mines. After a short rest break one of them accidentally stepped on a mine, setting it off, and causing several casualties.

Amazingly, the fellow soldier survived despite having horrific wounds including a leg and part of his arm amputated, but Joe lives with the memory and the thought, ‘It could have been me’.

Later in life, long after he had left the army, Joe came to the stark realisation that he had some of the hallmark symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Well, initially I thought I just had the fair wear and tear stuff, such as joints, hearing and skin damage, but in time, I realised that there were other issues, mental health issues, that needed addressing.

An introduction from a mate

Remaining friends with many comrades from the Defence Force, Joe didn’t have to go far to find a warm introduction to Mates4Mates.

“A mutual friend introduced me to Mates4Mates, because another one of our compatriots was coming to Queensland to speak at a gathering about Kokoda Trekking. I attended that night and I joined Mates4Mates the following day,” he said.

But as an older generation veteran, Joe recalls some hesitation about getting involved.

“Initially I was a bit standoff-ish, because I thought it was mainly for younger ex-service personnel and that I didn’t need to be going there every day.”

“But everyone has been really welcoming, and I have since become a lot more involved.”

“I do yoga and hydrotherapy regularly as a part of my weekly schedule, and I do organised cycling and bush walking trips with the group too. There is a whole raft of activities on offer – coming here three times a week is not at all uncommon.”

Helping Joe’s ongoing sleep issues

One of Joe’s biggest issues was that he had difficulties sleeping. Every night he was having terribly broken sleep, which was slowly eroding away his quality of life.

“Life without sleep, or broken sleep, is not very much fun.”

Through Mates4Mates, Joe has found attending restorative yoga classes incredibly helpful.

Yoga has been probably the most beneficial thing. Again, I was a bit cynical to start with thinking ‘This can’t possibly have a positive effect!’, however it has been marvellous.

“Yoga has given me skills and practises that have allowed me to get a much better night’s sleep.”

“Mates4Mates has done this for me, so it’s been wonderfully beneficial,” Joe said.

The activities that have helped Joe are offered by Mates4Mates, which is funded by the RSL Art Union – and your VIP Club membership.

“I’d like to say an extremely large thank you!” Joe said.

“Mates4Mates is having a very positive impact on people, including myself, and without the funding it just wouldn’t exist.”

“The work that RSL Queensland does for veterans is good work, but it needs to be funded and the RSL Art Union is a positive way of this happening,” he said.

How your support changes lives

Our regular supporters are so important for RSL Queensland to provide much-needed help to veterans and families. The money raised helps deliver a range of impactful services and programs to help in real and meaningful ways. In 2023, 20% more veterans and families were supported by RSL Queensland’s services than the previous year, including:


veterans and families supported by RSL Queensland’s services.


claims and appeals submitted to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.


jobs found for veterans and their partners.


veterans and families housed in safe, permanent accommodation.

Frequently asked questions

How your support helps
What does my contribution to RSL Art Union go towards? 

Funds raised through RSL Art Union allows RSL Queensland to provide practical support, assistance, advice and camaraderie to current and former Australian Defence Force members and their families across Queensland and nationally.

RSL Queensland’s mission is to provide care, commemoration and camaraderie to enable veterans and families to live with dignity and respect.

For example, in 2023, RSL Queensland supported 8,411 veterans and their families with their services, found jobs for 285 veterans and their partners, and helped 202 individuals into safe, permanent housing.

You can read about our services and stories at

How can I get assistance from RSL Queensland?

Life always has its ups and downs. But as a veteran, or the partner of a veteran, you don’t have to face them on your own.

Whether you're looking for employment, scholarships, wellness programs, or assistance with DVA claims, RSL Queensland has free programs, and people at the ready, to help you achieve your life goals.

To learn more and get assistance, visit or call 134 RSL.

Our Prizes
How many prize homes do you draw each year? 

Every year we bring you 10 multi-million dollar properties, some with added gold bullion or even luxury cars. Get a sneak peak at future prizes with up to 5 games available for purchase or pre-order at any time. See the VIP Calendar for more on prize draw dates.

What are the VIP Heroes Draws?

In addition to our 10 prize home draws each year, VIP Club members have exclusive entry in two VIP-only Heroes Draws worth millions in gold bullion (subject to State/Territory Licensing approval). In other words, you must be a VIP Club member to be able to purchase these tickets. See the VIP Calendar for more on prize draw dates. Or find out about how you can become a VIP here from $5 a ticket.

How do pre-order tickets work?

Get in early and reserve your tickets before a game officially opens through pre-order. Simply add the tickets to your cart now and we won’t deduct any funds until the draw’s nominated open day. See the VIP Calendar for more on prize draw dates.

What is the Bonus Gold prize?

If you purchase a ticket book worth $10 or more in one of our 8 prize home draws, or a ticket book worth $30 or more in one of our 2 Golden Treasure prize home draws, you're eligible to win a Bonus Gold prize!

Ranging between $10,000 and $100,000 in gold bullion, the Bonus Gold prize is awarded to the first prize winner and determined by the value of their ticket book purchase.

For more information, please see the Terms and Conditions.

What happens if I win gold bullion?

You have the option of taking possession of the gold bullion or selling the gold bullion to claim its value in cash.

Please note that selling costs and market variations apply when selling gold bullion.

Can I provide feedback on the new website?

Of course! We love to hear feedback from our customers. We built our new website to cater for you and to improve the customer experience, so we'd love to hear what you think. You can provide any feedback here!

How do I find out if I'm a winner?

After each draw, we attempt to contact the winner by phone as the priority. The winning ticket number will also be posted on our Winners page, Facebook and Instagram shortly after the draw.

See our latest winner stories.

When will the details of each draw be released to the public?

Full details of our current, and some of our upcoming draws are available online – see Prizes.

For the latest draw updates, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

If you're signed up for our emails, we'll email you on the open day of each draw, giving you all the draw details and the chance to order tickets.

See the VIP Calendar for draw dates.

Do I have to pay tax on the first prize if I win?

The transfer of all our lottery prizes to prize winners is not taxable for the prize winner. There may be tax consequences for the prize winner for the ongoing use or sale of the prize. More detailed information can be found via the Australian Taxation Office.

Please note RSL Queensland is not able to provide financial or taxation advice. We advise all our prize winners to seek professional financial and tax advice to fully understand any implications.

Where are the draws held?

RSL Art Union draws are held at ANZAC House, 283 St Pauls Terrace, Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006 or as specified in the Terms and Conditions for each draw. Draw results will be published online, on Facebook and Instagram.

Are all of your prize homes new?

The majority of RSL Art Union prize homes are built brand new, while some are existing homes, expertly renovated. In both instances, RSL Queensland works closely with our accredited partners in the building industry to ensure the highest quality of standards is maintained.

Are your prize homes open for viewing?

Due to the often residential location and popularity of our prize homes, RSL Art Union has not been permitted by regional councils to conduct open homes because of the disruption to the local community.

Our prize homes might be closed to public viewing, but you can explore them in just as much detail online, any time you like! Visit our Prize page to access draw brochures, photos, videos, floor plans and virtual tours. All addresses are listed on our prize pages, so why not take a drive past and explore the neighbourhood. RSL Art Union will continue to assess opportunities to re-open prize homes to the public into the future.

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