Gayndah RSL units to honour fallen Sapper

HONOURING JACOB: Sandy Moerland, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Richardson, Robert Moerland, Terry Meehan, Laura Moerland and Craig Fothergill open new RSL low cost housing facilities dedicated to hometown hero Sapper Jacob Moerland. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
HONOURING JACOB: Sandy Moerland, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Richardson, Robert Moerland, Terry Meehan, Laura Moerland and Craig Fothergill open new RSL low cost housing facilities dedicated to hometown hero Sapper Jacob Moerland. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

Carolyn Archer

THE life of fallen Australian Sapper Jacob "Snowy" Moerland will be forever remembered, with the unveiling of a new memorial honouring his life.

Four years after he died fighting for his country in Afghanistan, friends, family RSL dignitaries and fellow soldiers gathered in Gayndah yesterday to open a new RSL housing facility for war veterans, dedicated to Sapper Moerland.

Sandy Moerland paid tribute to her son and said she was excited to celebrate the opening of the units and to remember Jacob, with Jacob Moreland Close the name given to the driveway to the units.

"Not long after we brought Jacob home, my sister and I were talking and she said it gets to a point in a person's life, the last death they call it, when no one will ever say their name again," she said.

"Now I don't have to face that, he's got his name on a street sign and no one will ever not say his name."

Soldiers from the Australian Army's 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment stayed with Mrs Moerland over the past few days and she said it meant so much to maintain contact.

"It can bring back some sad memories but I love being a part of their lives, my experience with the regiment has been a very blessed one," she said.

"They tell me things I didn't know about Jacob, things he did in Afghanistan."

The regiment's current commander Lieutenant-Colonel Matt Richardson said none of the soldiers were ordered to be at the memorial, it was something they all wanted to do.

"It's a testament to his character that they all want to come back here and they volunteer to be here on Anzac Day," he said.

Lt-Col Richardson said it was important for the current soldiers to see what the RSL did for soldiers after they serve, and accommodation was just one part of that.

Corporal Daniel Daleris served with Sapper Moerland for four months and described him as a larrikin who would do anything for his mates.

"He had a big personality and made an impression on peoples' lives," he said.

"He was one of the best soldiers I've served with."

Corp Daleris said it was also nice to see the RSL still involved and helping out the older veterans.

Helen Walker moved into one of the six units two weeks ago and said she was absolutely delighted.

Her husband, who served in the Second World War, died five years ago.

The units are located in the perfect place for Mrs Walker; she has a clear view over the bowling greens of the bowls club, where she has been president for 18 years.

"I was told just before Christmas that I was getting one of the units," she said.

"It was the best Christmas present."

Topics:  rsl

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