TIRELESS: Former Ipswich War Widows president Beryl Schy.
TIRELESS: Former Ipswich War Widows president Beryl Schy. Emma Clarke

Beryl served War Widows for 23 years

IT NEVER ceases to amaze me of the number of people in this community who give so much of themselves helping to make the lives of others better.

These unsung heroes help out community groups that would not be able to operate without them.

This silent group of people go about the business of organising, running and operating the many community organisations throughout our city.

Sports clubs, social clubs, arts groups and many, many more all of whom would not exist if it wasn't for this anonymous group of dedicated, community-minded people.

Beryl Schy is but one of these people. Mrs Schy has recently stepped down from the role of president of the Ipswich War Widows committee after 23 years at the helm.

Mrs Schy first joined Ipswich War Widows following the death of her husband Frank more than 30 years ago. And she has been an active member ever since.

She said that the War Widows Guild was formed by Jessie Mary Vasey, OBE, CBE in 1945 and today supports and advocates for all war widows from all conflicts.

Mrs Schy commented that one of the great things about the War Widows Guild is its lobbying government for a better deal for war widows.

She said that in Ipswich, there are members whose husbands served in a number of conflicts including Korea and Vietnam as well as World War II.

The War Widows Guild of Australia was formed on November 22, 1945, and its founder Jessie Vasey was the originator of the idea behind the design if the organisations badge.

It was decided that the badge would feature the kookaburra, an industrious and cheerful bird who mated for life, was fearless and aggressive in the defence of its young and the area of territory it regarded as its own.

The bird also had a unique call, not a song but a laugh; a chortle of rollicking mirth (to bring the widows back to laughter).

The kookaburra was also the mascot of the 7th Division of the 2nd AIF, commanded by Mrs Vasey's husband, Major-General Vasey.

According to Mrs Schy, one of the greatest things about belonging to the Ipswich War Widows is the lifelong friendships that have been formed and the support from the organisations members.

"The reason why I have been on the committee as its president for so long is because I felt the need to give something back to the organisation that helped me all those years ago," Beryl said.

She said that "the strength of any organisation is in the number of its loyal members".

It's an organisation worth supporting and she will keep supporting it into the future as a dedicated member.

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