A new statue honouring homeless veterans has been unveiled in Rockingham
A unique statue dedicated to homeless veterans was unveiled last week at the Rockingham RSL.
The first-of-its kind statue made by Port Kennedy veteran Laurie Drage was released on Vietnam Veterans Day, August 18.
“The service went really well, and when they took the veil off the statue everyone was cheering, it was amazing,” Mr Drage said.
“I felt like everyone that came here actually felt what that statue meant, I didn’t expect the amount of noise that would come out of everyone.
“They were all trying to get over to see him and shake his hand and get a photo.
“I was trying to make sure I could say thank you to everyone who played a part in all of this, but I had to take about 10 minutes to myself of total quietness to take it all in.”
Mr Drage spent a total of 646 hours over nearly two years constructing the “nameless homeless veteran”.
“We had a lot of local support; after I finished the statue we had the sand blasting, galvanising, powder coating still to do, and the local businesses all came on board and donated their services. The people of Rockingham are very generous people,” Mr Drage said
The statue included a poem titled The Homeless Soldier to tell his story by Rockingham councillor and veteran Hayley Edwards.
“It was very emotional, I had to try and not cry while reading it,” Cr Edwards said.
“Having served and knowing what’s going on in Afghanistan now, the people that served there are going to have so many emotions going through them right now and I could feel all of that while reading the poem aloud.”
Homeless advocate Owen Farmer said the statue was an important symbol for all those who fought in the wars and “missed out on support” when they returned.
Mr Drage hopes that his statue will help raise awareness of the tragic issue of veteran homelessness.
The statue is in the courtyard of the Rockingham RSL.
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