Health and Welfare - "Mates Helping Mates"

OEM is a Sub-Branch of Vietnam Veterans, run by Vietnam Veterans for Vietnam Veterans and wives/partners and dependants. We also welcome and provide support for military veterans from conflicts other than Vietnam.

The Outer Eastern Melbourne Sub-Branch places the highest priority on the health, welfare and the well-being of our members, their wives/partners and dependants.

A Welfare Team, headed up by our Welfare Team Leader, Rob Huggan, has primary responsibility for welfare issues within the Sub-Branch. OEM encourages all members to participate in a "mates helping mates" approach both for members within the Sub- Branch, as well as for veterans within our region who are not OEM members.

OEM recognises that sometimes wives/partners of veterans also have health and welfare issues. These can be caused or exacerbated as a result of problems experienced by Vietnam Veterans and can negatively impact on family relationships.

The 'Eastern Veterans Wives Group' is very active and conduct a variety of activities throughout the year. The "Eastern Veterans Wives Group" page provides more information.

Photo: Swimming exercises

There's something in the water! - Photo courtesy of Bill Cane JP


One of the strengths of OEM is that our "grass roots" welfare approach
 focuses on both "proactive" and "reactive" welfare.


Proactive Welfare
Proactive welfare involves putting in place an approach so that potential problems and issues are addressed before they escalate. OEM is a Sub-Branch of Vietnam Veterans, run by Vietnam Veterans for Vietnam Veterans and wives/partners and dependants. We also welcome and provide support for military veterans from conflicts other than Vietnam. Proactive welfare works well at OEM as many veterans feel comfortable talking with other veterans about topics they may be more reluctant to discuss with friends and family. Vietnam Veterans are unique. We share a common experience and bond and we were all raised in the same era.

OEM runs a range of functions and activities throughout the year. See the "Events" page for more information. These activities give us a chance to have a bit of fun, have a laugh and let our hair down (those of us that still have it). It's also an opportunity to get to know each other a little better. Tuesday night chat and pizza, where footy can be discussed and the problems of the world solved, is a popular venue. In an informal environment it's also often easier to take an opportunity to get some advice from another member. There's a culture within OEM of "covering your mate's back". We look after each other and whatever the issue, there's usually someone, or many, who have "been there" and can offer helpful advice.

Health is another area of proactive welfare that OEM actively promotes. We are not all as young as we used to be but there are ways we can prevent or reduce the onset of some of the symptoms of aging. Popular among our members, depending on preferences and limitations, is participation in a range of gym, general fitness and swimming sessions. Some of the gym sessions also make available staff to help manage pre-existing health issues. OEM members also participate in the VVAA VetRide, have an occasional beach cricket match, etc. Other members meet up for golf, snooker, fishing and so on. The "Members" area of our website includes a range of information on health and welfare related topics.


Reactive Welfare
Reactive welfare responds to problems and difficulties that have already manifested themselves. Our Welfare Team has the experience and training to provide assistance and support for veterans, their wives/partners and dependants, in a confidential environment.

Activities carried out by our hard working welfare team include hospital visitation, sending cards, provision of assistance with practical tasks, provision of transport to medical appointments, assistance with pensions, allowances and a range of other support tasks.

Many veterans are unaware of the full range of entitlements and services they are entitled to, from either the Department of Veterans Affairs and  Centrelink. The Welfare Team supports and encourages members to avail themselves of their DVA and Centrelink entitlements as well as the discounts and offerings of a number of other organisations, for relevant cardholders.


The Welfare Team can be contacted on 0488 444 235 or 0416 255 023 (Welfare Assistance phones).