The first of RSL Victoria’s prestigious honours for 2023 has been awarded to a devoted member of the Yarra Glen Sub-Branch.
Secretary and Treasurer Edward Bartosh received Life Membership with Gold Badge - one of only four presented annually.
Edward says he never expected to be recognised.
"I’ve seen them handed out to others but never thought about it for myself. I just plod along with the Sub-Branch trying to make sure we can do our commemorations and everything else. It’s an honour, absolutely."
Ed, as he likes to be called, served with the American Army Medical Regiment for 22 years. Once he moved to Australia, he joined the Yarra Glen Sub-Branch in 2005.
“When I joined the Yarra Glen Sub-Branch, there were all these WW2 veterans who reminded me of my father [who was a WW2 veteran]. So, I got involved and turned out they needed a secretary and then they needed a treasurer.”
He says he is proud to be involved with the RSL.
“Every nation needs a civilian organisation to look after its veterans. Governments are the ones that send soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen into action and they need to take care of them when they come back, but they don’t always. An organisation like the RSL is needed to keep politicians accountable to look after veterans and those that served.”
ANZAC Day commemoration features heavily in his volunteer work with the Sub-Branch, as do many other commemorative days, and the education of younger generations.
“To make sure we get all different people participating we follow the RSL’s lead in getting school kids involved. We have three primary schools in Yarra Glen [that] provide students to speak about what ANZAC Day means to them and instil at an early age about what’s involved in military service.”
"Edward is a true example of ‘serving still’. It is people like Ed that help the RSL thrive and fulfill its mission in helping veterans and their families. Congratulations on this most deserving recognition."
Dr Robert Webster OAM