Conscripted into the Australian Defence Force, Ivan served in the army until his service was cut short because of an injury.
But he says the time he did have equipped him with life skills.
“I had never been so fit and disciplined. From marching discipline alertly in the parade grounds to working the brain every morning, from lining up to go to breakfast and eating in a communal eating room. Discipline, discipline, discipline. Team effort, team effort, team effort. Do as you’re told. Listen. Learn. Is was a wonderful time.”
“I learnt to be an excellent marksman being able to read wind velocity, watch the branches, which way they’re blowing, what’s going on and then hit a target dead centre at 300 metres.”
He credits his experience in the army as one that shaped him to be the man he is today.
"That journey was priceless in building, catalyzing my character as a real person and appreciating life and being a team member, and being humble."
When Ivan re-entered civilian life he forged successful careers in various roles, including in the sports industry, politics, and the legal system.
Over the years though, Ivan’s hearing diminished.
After some research, he was advised to turn to the RSL, to explore the possibility that the hearing loss was as a result of his service.
“In a short duration, through Veteran Central I was introduced to Nick, my case manager and there the journey of claiming compensation and support from the DVA started – pleasantly, efficiently and successfully.”
He holds case manager Nick in the highest regard.
“He is an alert, intelligent, knowledgeable person.”
He says Nick navigating the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) compensation claim process as easy as possible.
“I think it took about three months from the time we instigated promulgating pieces of information backwards and forwards. But it was mostly in synopsis of the action, it wasn’t a protracted dialogue of bundles of questions and answers going backwards and forwards.”
Ivan describes the outcome as a ‘pleasant surprise.’
“The money part was not significant to me because my life is not about material, collateral things. I am fortunate I can think like that. I was so humbled and appreciative that my compensation application had been received and accepted by the Australian Government. The catalyst for this result was the support that I received through RSL Victoria, which is just wonderful. I’m so privileged.”
As part of Ivan’s successful claim, DVA also agreed to service his hearing aids, and cover the cost of audiological consultations and a weekly financial contribution towards his hearing aid parts, plus a new set of hearing aids every few years.
So grateful for the RSL’s assistance in getting his claim organised, Ivan and his partner generously donated a defibrillator to his Sub-Branch.
“The committee and members are all ecstatic and so genuinely grateful with this surprise that it is now in effect and can save a life anytime.”
While all current or former service men and women can access and receive assistance from the RSL, even if they are not members, it just so happened that Ivan had become a member two years ago.
And he is just loving it.
"It’s the people, they served their country well. The ladies and men there, there are former war nurses, there are former employees that made ammunition, they are just wonderful people that have contributed to this country."