Our second Defence family profile is Tegan and Drew (with Leo the parrot and recent addition, Mildred the dog).
How did you meet?
Tegan: We were both at the same school in Tassie in Year 11. Drew is probably going to hate me for saying this. He did this with his mates for a bit of a muck around but I’m a drama geek and we both did a musical together. Dancing is my passion and my journey took me to Sydney, but we didn’t reconnect until Drew joined the Army and went to training and he would come back to Sydney for breaks in training.Then he would pretty much come back every weekend he was there to see me whenever he could. I decided to move to Townsville with him when he was posted from Singleton to Townsville. So, we moved up there and lived in Townsville for the last two years.
Have you had any deployments?
Drew: Just to Rifle Company Butterworth (Malaysia).
Do you keep track of the time Drew is away, do you have a count down?
T: Yes, I always count down! Even if he is just away for two weeks. You’re like ‘13 sleeps’. I’m normally good with that sort of stuff but because it was three months, I was just trying to forget how long it was going to be for a little while and count the months because there is less of them… just wait a little bit… one down two to go… I do all that stuff.
Drew’ doesn’t really but I do.
In the time Drew was away were you working or studying? Did you find it was easier by working to keep busy or have a routine?
T: Working. Yep I found myself taking on extra shifts. I made really good friends in Townsville, so they kept me busy. The busier the better I find.
Do you think Social Media has helped with keeping in touch? Have you also stayed in touch with those friends via social media?
Was there something that came out from the Battalion, like a communication to the families?
T: Yes from 2 RAR to the wives and families. There was also a 2 RAR WAGS page. They would organise a lot of catch ups and they would share the posts from the 2RAR group because there would be photos on there every now and again.
Drew, what do you enjoy about being in the military?
D: Job security is a big one. Sense of accomplishment and hard work. The job helped me to grow up a lot. I suppose that’s what it’s designed for. It teaches you life skills, your sense of urgency.
T: I think it helps you to define your values. And then they teach you what is important and why.
D: I like the mateship. If you are in the army you have that connection.
Do you have any examples of a story where you as a family have been helped out by another Defence family that you might like to share?
D: At the start of the year with Leo (the parrot). I didn’t get back from Malaysia until December 1 and we had to leave Townsville by December 6 so we had just five days to pack up everything and leave. We transported Leo via plane and drove down. However, when we got to Canberra housing was a big issue.
T: We posted on the Canberra Facebook partners page that we were in a pickle and a lovely local family offered to pet sit Leo until we could get into a house. We were so touched by their kindness as it was a very stressful time for us not being able to find any housing beforehand because there was none available. We had to stay in temporary accommodation and then find a house with RA which was stressful, but we are since happy with the community we have found here.
T: In Townsville when Drew was away, we had his mates come over to mow lawns and there was always someone around to check on you when your partner was away.
D: We always made sure our mates were looked after.
T: When we arrived here, we were so happy to find a community here too.
Thank you to Tegan and Drew for participating in this project.
For 24/7 Defence family assistance please contact:
Defence Family Helpine (DCO) 1800 624 608 or [email protected]
Open Arms (formerly VVCS) 1800 011 046
With special thanks to Sean Davey Photographer www.seandavey.com.au