In 1992 Sandie participated in the RIMPAC exercises along with five other nations. “We got to visit Hawaii, San Diego, and even hop on a bus trip down to Mexico. One time when we were ashore there was a statue built by the Australian Navy back in 78’ and we got to repaint it, and just the little things like that were really great.” Sandie recalls fondly.
After finishing up her time in the Navy in 1995, Sandie struggled transitioning into civilian life. “I did find it a bit hard, having the camaraderie of all those people around you supporting you like brothers and sisters. To suddenly being on your own without that stability”.
Sandie hit a low point and eventually returned home to Brisbane to live with her mum and dad. An old friend from the Navy recognized the struggles Sandie had been dealing with, and told her to join Mates4Mates.
An initiative of RSL Queensland, Mates4Mates provides a way forward for current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel, and their families, impacted by service. Almost 10,000 veterans and their families to date have benefited from the physical rehabilitation and mental health services, skills and wellbeing programs, and social connection activities that Mates4Mates provides.
“Before reaching out to Mates4Mates I was a bit lost, I was unable to work at the time and didn’t really know what direction to go”.