Alan and Corin Murphy share a very special bond. Not only are they father and son, but both dedicated their lives to the Australian Defence Force.
Unfortunately, both are Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) as a result of their war injuries. But despite their challenges, they are reconnecting in a way they didn’t think was possible through RSL Active. “It’s support for each other. We’ve gone through similar things and to be able to do this together has just meant that much more,” says Alan.
As the two come back down to earth from a thrilling RSL Active helicopter flight, they open up about their lives.
Alan enlisted with the Australian Army in 1961 when he was 17. He went on to serve in Vietnam twice, in 1965 and 1971. “Sadly, most of my Army mates are gone now, but definitely the mateship is unbelievable.”
Alan’s discharge was challenging. He, like many Vietnam veterans, was treated with anger and contempt, making transitioning back into the civilian world all that more challenging. “We marched through Sydney when we came home and we just got abused, eggs thrown at us, it was just horrible.”
It took Alan 10 years before he attended his first Anzac Day march.
He’s also recently defied the odds, spending half of last year in hospital as a result of complications from back surgery. Amid his recovery and with the help of his children, Alan relocated from New South Wales to settle in Victoria.
He has connected with his local RSL Sub-Branch and has been actively involved since. “They got me involved in RSL Active, we’ve done bowls, veterans dinners, so many things I’ve never known from any other RSL.”
“It’s given me a whole new life. I feel like I belong somewhere. They are supporting me unbelievably and I’ve got somewhere to go.
"It’s given me a whole new life. I feel like I belong somewhere. They are supporting me unbelievably and I’ve got somewhere to go."
Alan’s son Corin began his service in Army with 5/6RVR, then moved to full-time service as an Intensive Care Nursing Officer with the RAAF in 2000. He served for 22 years in total, until being medically discharged as a Senior Officer due to his war injuries.
Since his discharge, Corin has suffered from physical and psychological injuries because of his service, which has left him wheelchair bound and struggling with devastating mental health challenges.
But the loss of his career, and difficulty transitioning to civilian life were just as challenging.
The single father of 4 boys is working hard to overcome his obstacles, and much of it is thanks to his new furry best friend, physical and psychological assistance dog Daisy, who sits loyally by his side.
“She has saved my life. I have no fear I’ll take my own life anymore. Absolutely no fear of it anymore. I’m far more relaxed, my pulse rate is down, I’m sleeping better, and she gets me out.”
“This is the first RSL Active thing that I’ve done, but normally I wouldn’t be able to do something like this because there are people around that I don’t know, and it makes me feel uncomfortable. Actually, more than uncomfortable, terrified is a better word. I’d actually get physically sick before it happened. For me to be here (at the RSL Active event) today is a huge thing,” says Corin.
“It’s brilliant! We can’t do this sort of stuff together normally,” says Corin. “RSL Active has made today possible. Thank you!”