In honour of her family13 January 2020
Judy McGrath's role as RSL Queensland Operations Coordinator enables her to honour her family’s military history and give back to the Defence community.
“It makes me very proud when I think about the types of service my family has given,” Judy says.
Indeed, her family’s contribution is extensive. Judy’s paternal grandfather, William Francis McGrath, served in both World Wars. He received a Mention in Despatches, the Military Medal (1918), 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and a Victory Medal. He was a commissioned officer in WWII in the 14th Lighthorse Regiment.
Her maternal grandfather Signaller Edmond ‘Ted’ G Eardley served in WWI in the 11th Lighthorse Regiment (ANZAC Signal Squadron) and received the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Judy’s father Rusty McGrath, now a Life Member of Bundaberg RSL Sub Branch, served with the British Merchant Navy during the Korean War. Her brother John served in the Australian Army. All spoke modestly about their experiences and impact.
William McGrath was asked by his children what he had done to win his Military Medal. “Oh, I wore out a couple of pairs of boots,” was his unpretentious reply.
Meanwhile, Ted Eardley joked to his grandchildren that wounds he sustained to his head were his “salt and pepper holes”.
“Neither of my grandfathers really talked about what they did over there,” Judy says.
“But when you look at the war records you can see how often they were put in hospital with different infections, dysentery and pneumonia. Gosh, the conditions must have been just appalling.”
Judy has great respect for her family members and the legacy they left on Australia.
“We live in one of the world’s best countries, but there is still so much we can do to look after the people who have served.”
Judy was drawn to working for RSL Queensland for this reason.
“When I thought about the kind of organisation I wanted to work for, I looked for an organisation that gives back and that contributes in some way,” she says.
“It makes me really proud that I can be a small cog in a wheel that actually contributes very tangible benefits to our Defence Force families.”
Judy works within the RSL Art Union team, which raises funding for programs that support veterans. Her role ensures the smooth running of the prize home lotteries from start to finish, including securing permits, scheduling and timings.
“We’re the behind the scenes team and the team dynamic that I have here is better than any other place I have worked.”
Rusty often boasts about the great work his daughter does at RSL Queensland.
“For me, it’s how proud my dad is because I’m giving something back. And that’s really important for me,” Judy says.