©2018 by Timor Awakening. Designed by MS

Timor Awakening (TA) is a programme of renewal and rehabilitation for Australian and Timorese Veterans with holistic health education, personal & group engagement, pastoral care, mentoring & historical commemoration, centred around an 11-day immersion experience in Timor-Leste.


Timorese Veterans of the resistance struggle share a proud common heritage with Australian Veterans. They tell us that many lessons they successfully employed in 24 years of guerilla warfare were learned from their fathers who supported Sparrow Force. The Timorese Veterans have always had so little, yet achieved so much. They took on the burden to liberate their people with little to no chance of victory, starvation, suffering, isolation and no resources. The Timorese veterans overcome these challenges, forgive their enemies and accepted independence with serenity, dignity and and acceptance of continued limited conditions. 


Australian forces have been deployed continuously since Timorese liberation in 1999. The challenges of service, war and conflict are different for a soldier fighting in another's land. Returning home and rehabilitating takes a serious toll on veterans and their families. A crisis of mental health and suicide have sparked many veterans to do what they can to do what they can to help 'fill the gaps' of the system. 

Every Veteran on Timor Awakening has a unique story of service, sacrifice and survival.


In a country born out of trauma, hope and resilience, the peaceful, spiritual and breathtaking Timor-Leste provides a backdrop for healing and renewal.. reminding us that through solidarity, reflection and perseverance a positive future is possible.


Timor Awakening is designed as a significant contribution to the health and well being of veterans, facilitating veterans of two nations to inspire and support each-other, building bonds and enhancing the broader relationship between neighbours.

Timor Awakening (TA) is a programme of renewal and rehabilitation for Australian and Timorese Veterans with holistic health education, personal & group engagement, pastoral care, mentoring & historical commemoration, centred around an 11-day immersion experience in Timor-Leste.

 

Timorese Veterans of the resistance struggle share a proud common heritage with Australian Veterans. They tell us that many lessons they successfully employed in 24 years of guerilla warfare were learned from their fathers who supported Sparrow Force. The Timorese Veterans have always had so little, yet achieved so much. They took on the burden to liberate their people with little to no chance of victory, starvation, suffering, isolation and no resources. The Timorese veterans overcome these challenges, forgive their enemies and accepted independence with serenity, dignity and and acceptance of continued limited conditions. 

 

Australian forces have been deployed continuously since Timorese liberation in 1999. The challenges of service, war and conflict are different for a soldier fighting in another's land. Returning home and rehabilitating takes a serious toll on veterans and their families. A crisis of mental health and suicide have sparked many veterans to do what they can to do what they can to help 'fill the gaps' of the system. 

Every Veteran on Timor Awakening has a unique story of service, sacrifice and survival.

 

In a country born out of trauma, hope and resilience, the peaceful, spiritual and breathtaking Timor-Leste provides a backdrop for healing and renewal.. reminding us that through solidarity, reflection and perseverance a positive future is possible.

 

Timor Awakening is designed as a significant contribution to the health and well being of veterans, facilitating veterans of two nations to inspire and support each-other, building bonds and enhancing the broader relationship between neighbours.

KEY PEOPLE

Meet The Team

Michael Stone

Program Director

Michael is a former Australian Army Infantry officer who served extensively in Timor-Leste from 1999 to 2011. Michael worked intimately with the Timorese military and President Jose Ramos-Horta in a variety of unique roles. He is a fluent speaker of the Timorese language. Michael founded Timor Awakening in 2016 and has created a number of initiatives including the Australian Veterans Scholarship Timor-Leste and Riak Retreat. Michael is passionate about supporting veterans, education for the poor and contributing to peace in our region. 

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Gary Stone

Pastoral Care Coordinator, Chaplain, President - Veterans Care Association

Gary Stone is an Australian Army Veteran of over 47 years service as an infantry officer and Chaplain. He served on operations in Malaysia, Fiji, Iran, Bougainville, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands. Gary is an expert in cultural preparedness and character development preparing thousands of soldiers deploying to Afghanistan, Iraq, PNG and Timor-Leste. Gary is founder and President of Veterans Care Association and is focussed on providing veterans and their families holistic care, empowering them for a positive life.

Bob Breen

Pastoral Care Team and Mentor

Over 40 years experience in participating in as well as researching and writing about post-Cold War Australian military and humanitarian operations. Published over nine books and monographs on ADF off-shore operations and assisted several deployed commanders in Bougainville and East Timor (later Timor Leste), including Commander International Force East Timor then Major General Peter Cosgrove. Bob is a qualified and experience mentor. Having participated on TA1 as a participant Bob has been integral on every subsequent program as a mentor & pastoral care support to participants. 

Michael Albrecht

VCA Life Coach and Pastoral Care Team

Michael is a former Australian Army soldier of 13 years, serving on operations in The Solomon Islands, East Timor and twice in Afghanistan. After separating from the full-time army in 2015, Michael followed his ambition for being a life coach and serving other military members. He is currently employed part-time as a life coach by Veterans Care Association (VCA) and remains active in the Army Reserve. Michael’s vision as your coach is to be somebody in your corner, who sees aspects of your life better than you currently see them and can enable you to see the path in getting there as soon as possible.

Simon Wilson

Behavioural Specialist and VCA Volunteer

Simon is a behavioural specialist currently working with teachers and schools to help them support students who are suffering trauma and improve teaching standards. Simon was the first modern history high school teacher in Queensland to implement studies of East Timor into the curriculum. Travelling to Timor in 2005 had a profound impact on him. He continues to be a supporter and advocate for the people. Simon is inspired by the resilience of the Timorese in overcoming a tragic history through reconciliation and forgiveness and believes that Australia owes a huge debt for their great sacrifice in supporting the Sparrow Force Commandos in 1942. Simon is very proud and honoured to be supporting Veterans to make positive life choices.

Ines Almeida

Jorge Alves

Col Ahern

VCA Secretary

Our secretary Col Ahern served over 30 years in the Army as well as working in government. Col is a great man of faith, is always encouraging others, and is a wise counsel on our way ahead. Col has been a committed volunteer at VCA and participated as a veteran on TA3, saying "possibly the best experience of my life".  

Geoffrey Fry

VCA Committee Member

"When I heard Gary speak about the desperate plight of many returned veterans and their families that I found myself spurred into action. His plan seemed so simple and yet it wasn’t happening through the mainstream veterans services. The veterans need a holistic approach to their care. A system that looks at them as a whole, not just the sum of individual broken parts. I offered my skills in banking and finance and was made Treasurer. From that point a key management group got together and we’ve moved forward together working to support Gary and his mission to support Veterans, their Families and their Carers."

Wayne Robson

Governance

Wayne is a Licensed Real Estate Agent and Member of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland and CPA Australia, and served over 20 years in the Australian Army Reserve. Wayne joined the VCA management committee in February 2017 specialising in due diligence, good governance and fundraising. Professionally Wayne specialises in working with small and medium businesses to optimise performance. Innovative, adaptable, determined and uncompromising when it comes to integrity.

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Candice Carroll

Psychological Assessor and Mentor

Rowena Langan

Participant Liaison and Mentor

Michael Robson

VCA Treasurer

Rhys Broadfoot

RIAK Retreat Volunteer 

Rhys Broadfoot is a former Australian Army Paratrooper and Combat Medic. In 1999 Rhys deployed Timor-Leste with Op Spitfire, Interfet and later as a UN peacekeeper. After leaving the military Rhys obtained his bachelors’ degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology, worked for QLD Health in a variety of positions. Rhys now volunteers for Veterans Care Association (VCA) supporting the Riak Retreat project. The aim of creating an opportunity for veterans to use skills and connect by helping others. Rhys has done extensive networking in support of Rotary and Lions Australia to transport medical and education equipment for the Riak Retreat school in Same and Balibo dental clinic. Rhys has a passion for helping Australian and Timor veterans along with those less fortunate than himself.

Duncan Buchanan

Timor Awakening Mentor

Duncan Buchanan is a former Australian Army Officer of 18 years service, completing three overseas operational tours, Duncan realised something was ’not quite right’ and choose to dive into understanding mental and emotional processing.  On discharge he received the ‘label’ of PTSD and as a result was further driven to share all he has learned about how thoughts, body and most importantly our emotions could serve us better.  

As an International Master NLP & Somatics Practitioner, Committed Husband, Devoted Dad and an ever-striving Conscious Man - Duncan has used both his learned skills combined with a lot of personal & practical experience to better assist military veterans  and their partners in multiple areas of their lives, especially personally and in their relationships.  Showing them how to flip around past experiences and current beliefs to enjoy more of what life has to offer. Duncan is a true example of someone who walks their talk.

Benjamen Harlow

Timor Awakening Mentor

VETERANS CARE ASSOCIATION 
HEALTH AND WELLBEING TEAM

Veterans Care Association and Timor Awakening are fortunate to have the generous support and expertise of a wide range of medical, behavioural and healing professionals.