Loss of father in his prime a heavy blow to family
THE loss of a father in his prime is a devastating blow.
For 21-year-old Liberty Engler and her family, a strong and steady presence has been with them for the past decade since that tragic loss.
Her father, Darryl, who served as a sergeant in the Royal Australian Air Force, passed away in service at the age of 40.
The Englers are just one family supported by Ipswich Legacy, now in its 90th year, which assists families after the death or serious injury of a member of the Australian Defence Force.
"Legacy have looked after my family for almost 10 years," Liberty said.
As well as financial help towards school fees for herself and younger brother Isaiah, now 19, Legacy provided the platform for Liberty to share her story with others in the same position.
She regularly attended youth camps organised by Legacy throughout high school, which brought together kids from around the country at events in Western Australia.
"Going to those, I was able to make a lot of friendships with kids who had been through something similar to myself," she said.
"Everyone who went on the camps had friends back home but especially being so young, they weren't people that you could talk to about it because they didn't understand. It was nice to have people who had a common understanding of what you'd been through."
Through Legacy she undertook trips to the Western Front and the Kokoda Trail, leaving her with memories for life.
"Being part of a defence family, my dad was always very interested in that," she said.
"I've always had an interest in war history from him. Getting to go over and learn and see first-hand - it was such an incredible experience.
"Without the help of Legacy, I think we would have been able to get through that time but I think it would have been a lot harder. I've had some amazing opportunities presented to me and made such amazing friendships from that as well."
Liberty remembers her father as hugely supportive.
"He was very involved in our lives," she said.
"He was very into sport and being active and in the outdoors. We played lots of sport and he coached our basketball teams growing up. He liked to joke around and always made everything really fun."
Now Liberty, a University of Queensland clinical exercise physiology student, gives back to Legacy whenever she can.
"I want to be able to give back to other kids who might be going through that as well," she said.
Fearnley will feature at Legacy's 90th anniversary celebrations
IPSWICH Legacy will celebrate 90 years caring for the local families of those who served their country with a special celebration next month.
Paralympic and Commonwealth Games medallist Kurt Fearnley will be the guest speaker for the 90th anniversary breakfast on September 13, which is themed "Making the impossible, possible".
President Wayne McDonnell said Mr Fearnley was the perfect fit to speak about building resilience, the importance of a strong team unit and leading by example at the milestone event.
The Australian flag bearer at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games closing ceremony will share his life story and accomplishments on the world stage.
"He's a great motivational speaker," MrMcDonnell said.
"Given the amount of sporting people around he can provide some great motivation and tips on leadership in sport and how to overcome adversity."
The event will be held at the North Ipswich Reserve Corporate Centre from 6.30am for a 7am start.
To book tickets, visit www.trybooking.com/BDAMA.
Mr McDonnell recommended bookings to be made as soon as possible as seats were limited.
Funds raised from the event will support the important work Legacy does in the community.