Mateship is at the heart of what we do at Mates4Mates. It’s a place for veterans to find a group of people they can call ‘mates’, and a place where they can feel understood and welcomed. That’s exactly what Steve Moore and Ted Tiessem found.
It’s Tuesday morning at the Mates4Mates Family Recovery Centre in Townsville and mates, Steve and Ted, have just opened up the Mates café at the Centre.
Their service dogs, Axel and Scout, are keeping each other company out front.
As they prepare and serve coffee, snacks and meals, they regularly stop to have a chat and a laugh with any veterans who drop by.
Steve and Ted both served in the Australian Army but ended up being medically discharged. While they knew of each other in the Army, it wasn’t until they met again at Mates4Mates that a strong bond formed.
After both Steve and Ted got an assistance dog to help them manage PTSD symptoms, they bonded over training their service dogs and experiences in the Army, and they have been great mates ever since.
Three years on, they both volunteer in the Mates4Mates café to not only support their own recovery but be a listening ear and helping hand to other veterans impacted by service.
“By helping other people, you help yourself. Making a coffee for someone who is having a bad day and having a chat, you can see their spirits lift, and it lifts you up too,” Ted said.
Steve agreed. “You get satisfaction making something that someone enjoys.”
Both Steve and Ted said Mates4Mates has been an important part of their recovery, providing support, social connection and purpose.
“At Mates4Mates, they don’t judge you. You feel welcome every time you are there. You can just go for a chat and relax, or take part in the activities,” Ted said.
As the pair finish serving their final coffees and snacks for the morning, they are encouraging people to support Mates4Mates National Appeal Day. Steve said every donation would be lifesaving.
“You might save a life. If someone is looking for a reason not to be here, Mates4Mates shows them that life is worth it.”
Each year, Mates4Mates supports thousands of veterans across Australia, like Ted and Steve. But there’s still more work to be done.
We need your help this National Appeal Day to raise funds to deliver over 50 new Skills for Recovery programs that target the everyday challenges that veterans and their families face.
No one should have to go through injuries and mental health issues alone.
Help veterans find connection and support by donating on 5 November.