Nelson Bay RSL Sub-Branch has joined forces with Port Stephens Toyota to take possession of a new 4WD vehicle with the capacity to carry wheelchairs and mobility walkers.
The new Toyota Rav 4 will replace the organisation’s previous vehicle, a Barina, which was recently written off after being damaged by hail.
RSL Sub-branch secretary Russell Durrant said that the volunteer organisation which relied heavily on donations and contributions was pleased to have been able to negotiate a subsidised price with the Toyota dealership.
“The brand new vehicle, valued at $33,000, will primarily be used by the four welfare officers from the sub-branch Frank Duffy, Mark Balsarini, Ken Raymond and John Collins,” Mr Durrant said.
“The Barina served us well for nine years but it is time to upgrade and we are thrilled that Port Stephens Toyota has filled the void.
“The vehicle is used primarily to visit and transport our members, veterans and their families to and from nursing homes, hospitals and homes. It also allows us to carry more people and equipment such as wheelchairs and mobility walkers or scooters.
“While most of the driving is within Port Stephens, on occasion our members do have to travel further afield to places like Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Maitland.”
The Port Stephens Toyota dealership manager Josh Walker said the Burton family had a proud history of supporting charity and volunteer groups in Port Stephens.
“The RSL Sub-branch is a very important organisation doing great work in the community for our war veterans and their families,” he said.
“We are proud to be able to subsidise the price of the vehicle, as well as provide free servicing for three years and pay for the cost of sign writing.”
Mr Durrant said that the Nelson Bay 2018 Poppy Appeal for Remembrance Day (November 11) would be conducted at Salamander Bay Square shopping centre.
“Last year we could not sell poppies due to the ongoing investigations into RSL fundraising practices on a state level, so we are hoping to make up this year,” he said.
“We will be selling poppies, badges and the like from Tuesday to Friday, November 6 to 9.”
Remembrance Day services are expected to be conducted on November 11 at 11am at the various RSL club throughout Port Stephens.