PROUD: Darryl Beitzen, Mitchell RSL president.
PROUD: Darryl Beitzen, Mitchell RSL president. Jorja McDonnell

RSL president is giving his all for soldiers' legacies

MITCHELL'S Darryl Beitzen wears his father's medals beside his own on Anzac Day.

The local RSL president pins them on with pride, along with the history they represent, and has set out to make sure others in the community can do the same with the medals of their forefathers.

"My father died from war injuries, I was a Legacy child," Mr Beitzen said.

"Those Legacy men, who were Second World War veterans, would take me and my brothers to picnics or places like that, and they became a role model to me.

"It inspires me to carry that on now, and to encourage the children here that they have a role in this service."

Mr Beitzen believes the children should know about their own families who went away to serve.

"We have young men in our town who carry their great-grandfathers' medals with pride, and I intend to try and get more replica medals for the children of Mitchell, and let them know the history of their great-grandfathers," he said.

"There are children here, whose grandfathers were on Gallipoli and the Western Front; the two young flag bearers at today's service are related to a Charlie Mitchell, an indigenous man who was killed in New Guinea.

"There is history all over this town - the last war widow, her father was a light horseman who left his horse in Egypt and went to Gallipoli.

"Her husband went and fought in the Second World War, so there is a very strong history in Mitchell."

This year, the Anzac Day service was an emotional one for the Mitchell community, who were feeling the absence of long-serving RSL president, Noel Kennedy, who had fallen ill the night before and was unable to attend.

"Noel has served as president of the RSL for 20 years, and we're quite sad that he isn't here with us today," said Mr Beitzen.