How Legacy has the power to change lives
NOTHING can alleviate grief of losing a parent, as 23-year-old Natasia Barker and her sisters Jamille, 19, and Kaela, 17, know only too well.
Their father, Mark Barker, died in 2010 while serving with the Royal Australian Navy.
The girls were young but they remember their dad's bravery during deployment - and they replicate that bravery themselves, says mum Carolyn Mitton.
Ms Mitton, along with her youngest daughter, Kaela, were recipients of Legacy Westpac Grants after Mr Barker's death - funding that changed their lives after such a tragedy.
"Kaela got a $5000 grant at the same time I did and she went on exchange to America for a year, which was a goal of her for a very long time," the early childhood teacher said.
Ms Mitton, an ex-member of the Australian Defence Force herself, was granted Legacy Westpac funding to allow her to complete a masters degree in grief education.
"I think the positive impact that Westpac grants have on Legacy wards and their still living parents is a beautiful thing, and help get through those tricky transitions in life - and get on with a new life."
Kate MacInnes was 13 when she lost her dad, Lt Colonel Andrew MacInnes, seven years ago. Struggling with the idea of finishing school and pursuing tertiary education, she turned to Legacy.
Receiving a Legacy Westpac grant, Ms MacInnes moved interstate and is now in her second year of studying at the International College of Management.
Westpac has announced a $250,000 donation for future scholarships, taking their total contribution to Legacy to $1.5 million in the four-year collaboration with News Corp Australia, centred around the annual ANZAC coin collections.
This week we launch the final chapter of the series - the ANZAC Spirit coin collection.
"We are proud to support Legacy in the vital work they do to help the families of those who served their country," said George Frazis, Chief Executive, Westpac Consumer Bank.
"Westpac has a 200 year history of employing and empowering ex-servicemen and women.
"Our partnership with Legacy enables us to extend our support even further to the families of veterans. This year the funds will go directly to help family members to find meaningful employment opportunities, which we believe will have a profound and lasting positive impact."
Legacy Australia chairman Rick Cranna said the ANZAC Spirit collection would encourage Australians to reflect on the legacy of war over the past 100 years - and the quintessential qualities our brave servicemen and women have displayed in serving our country
"We currently care for around 60,000 beneficiaries, and the generous support from Westpac and News Corp, means we are able to continue doing our good work, and ensuring all generations pause to remember the sacrifices made to protect Australia and our way of life," he said.
To be officially unveiled at the Australian War Memorial on Friday, News Corp's limited-edition coin collection will thank those who serve and shine a light on the issues faced on the home front when they return, focusing on the core human values that shaped them - bravery, confidence, loyalty and independence.
Executive chairman of News Corp Australasia, Michael Miller, said the release of the unique coin collection complimented the #ThanksForServing campaign that launched last week.
"In the month leading to the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, our ANZAC Spirit commemoration will encourage Australians to reflect on the legacy of war, to honour the enduring values of those who served, and to keep the ANZAC stories alive," Mr Miller said.
"We are uniquely positioned and privileged to help our Australians connect with our military past, as evidenced by our extensive four-year ANZAC campaign.
"The stories we share about our ANZACs for past, present and future generations must forever be treasured, remembered and celebrated."