Veteran gives back as an Advocate

08 November 2023
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Navy veteran Peter Blackwell describes what life is like for one of RSL Queensland's Wellbeing Advocates.

Peter knows a thing or two about the challenges and opportunities veterans face when transitioning out of the Defence Force. He also knows about the power of community and how it can help make this time of transition be a success.

The registered nurse, who clocked seven years working for the Royal Flying Doctors, was a Navy Reservist musician for years. He says the experience inspired him to join his local RSL Sub Branch back in Victoria, where he worked tirelessly to support veterans.

Peter joined RSL Queensland as a Wellbeing Advocate based out of the RSL Queensland Veteran & Family Wellbeing Centre in Cairns in late 2022.

Peter dedicates his time to supporting veterans across Queensland’s tropics and says if he can make even a small difference, then that’s a big win.

“My favourite part of the job is talking to people. That’s what I do well. I’ve been told I can talk underwater with a mouthful of rocks,” he says.

“There is no typical day. Some days we’re out visiting Sub Branches and making connections there; other days we’re visiting veterans at home.”

Peter Blackwell RSL Queensland

On other days, you’ll find Peter in the office – answering the phone, helping new clients and trying to see what they need so RSL Queensland can best support them.

“Being a veteran is like being part of a family. You maintain your connections over many years,” he says.

“And in this role, I get to work with many Defence families, and I can directly connect with them and build that trust because they know that you’ve been there yourself.”