Warwick author, Deborah Wheeler, is putting her support behind injured veterans to ensure they have access to rehabilitation services to aid their recovery. Ms Wheeler’s latest book, My Pop Was a Kangaroo Anzac, tells the story of her grandfather, William James Wheeler, who was one of the original Wagga Wagga Kangaroo Anzacs and suffered a serious arm injury during the war.

Ms Wheeler is not only encouraging Australians to purchase a copy of the book in the lead up to Anzac day, she is also urging them to pay it forward by donating a second copy of the book to a local school in their area. Every book sold will support Mates4Mates, a not-for-profit providing support and rehabilitation services to current and ex-serving Defence Force members who as a result of their service, have incurred physical or psychological injuries.

Ms Wheeler said supporting rehabilitation for veterans was a cause close to her heart. “After joining the Australian Imperial Forces during World War I, Pop left Wagga Wagga on December 1, 1915 for Sydney as part of the Kangaroo recruitment march before setting sail,” said Ms Wheeler. “Pop almost lost his arm in the war and had to have 21 surgeries and wear a brace for the rest of his life which had an impact on him. I’ve decided to support Mates4Mates through the sale of the book because I know Pop would have supported an organisation that helps to rehabilitate veterans.”

Ms Wheeler said she was passionate about raising funds and providing the book to schools as an educational resource. “It’s my vision to see My Pop Was a Kangaroo Anzac in every school in Australia, giving children an educational and informative account of the Kangaroo Anzacs,” she said. “People can either donate a copy to a school of their choice, or I can donate it to a school in need. This book will help young people understand that those who went to war were just everyday men, doing their bit to protect their family and the country that they loved. I’ve had a really positive response so far and I’m happy that through the sale of the book, I can also support a worthwhile cause.”

Family Recovery Centre Manager, Marc Diplock, thanked Ms Wheeler for supporting the organisation through the sale of her book. “Funds raised through initiatives like this enable us to provide support and rehabilitation services to all ADF members who have injures as a result of their service,” Mr Diplock said. ““With over 3700 registered Mates and family members – we rely on the generosity and support from people like Deborah to help make a difference.”

Readers also enjoyed this story about an Anzac tribute.