GAVIN Nicol urges veterans who are eligible for the Veteran’s Independence Programme to get in touch. Photo Sven Carlsson OS0188-02

EASTERN Bay veterans are entitled to VIP treatment from Veterans Affairs.

RSA welfare officer Gavin Nicol said entitlements included lawn mowing and two hours of gardening a month, house washing, window washing four times annually, a personal safety alarm, and pedicures.

“The personal safety alarms come with GPS,” he said.

Mr Nicol said the programme applied to anyone who had done combat overseas and anyone who was in the services before April 1, 1974.

“It includes anyone who has done compulsory military training or National Service,” he said.

“We’re trying to get a lot of our oldies looked after.”

Mr Nicol said veterans could ring to make an appointment at the Opotiki RSA on Thursday, November 21 from 9am to 3pm.

“During your initial appointment we will also conduct hearing checks,” he said.

As a war veteran who covers the Eastern Bay, Cook Islands and Samoa Mr Nicol has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The young ones like to call it PTSI, for post-traumatic stress injury.”

Mr Nicol can help veterans fill in their VIP treatment form from his Whakatane office.
Recently returned from a trip to the Cook Islands, Mr Nicol said he had worn out several cars as travelling welfare officer.

“The current one has 350,000 kilometres on the clock,” he said.

“I am getting old myself and I need to train some younger people up.”

Mr Nicol said contractors that helped provide the VIP service to eligible veterans included Chemwash, Crew Cut and Rowan Newell in Opotiki.

“Come on in and check to see what we can do for you,” he said

“Contact Opotiki County RSA for an appointment on Thursday by calling 315 6174.”