FOR years Les Butt held the Fremantle RSL together.
As his comrades aged and the club’s ranks thinned, the former infantryman became Mr Everything, organising commemorative events around the city, keeping the books and delivering the eulogies at funerals.
Just as age started to slow him down and the club looked like folding, a young brigade came to the rescue and membership has grown from 18 to 45.
Now, as their way of saying thanks, Mr Butt has been chosen as the first recipient of a new initiative launched by the club known as Digging for a Digger.
Today, Saturday September 10, members will band together to give Mr Butt’s East Freo garden an intense, one-day makeover.
The initiative was the brainchild of former army technician and current Fremantle RSL president Tony Mitchell, and has been championed by his wife Gendy, her friend Phillippa Henderson and former Fremantle councillor Rob Fittock.
Mr Fittock says they’re hoping to fill any gaps that aren’t covered by the department of veterans affairs.
“We are going to see other vets, have a coffee and a chat to see how we can help them, by asking ‘what are DVA doing for you’ and where they feel the gaps are,” he said.
Mr Fittock says for now they’re just focusing on developing the initiative locally, but Ms Mitchell says she hopes the model is taken up by other clubs.
Mr Butt, a Borneo and Vietnam veteran who rose to the rank of corporal, says it’s great to be getting a helping hand around the yard.
“I am 75 next year and just getting around you slow down and a few things get let go, and then these guys said they were going to start this initiative, I’m very grateful,” Mr Butt said.
He lives with his intellectually disabled son Douglas, who he says has also benefited from Digging for a Digger, putting in an order for a veggie patch out the back.
There’s beer and a sausage sizzle after the event, which runs from 9am to 1pm. For more information contact Rob Cashman on 0466 650 312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
by STEVE GRANT