Struggling CQ town fights to keep Anzac Day service
AFTER years of trying to keep Anzac Day celebrations afloat, a tiny Central Queensland town is now faced with losing the historic commemoration if public support can't be found.
Anzac Day commemorations committee president James Wetzler said every year had been a struggle to get help even though there was always a massive turnout on the day.
"Everybody's hearts are there but not everyone's bodies are there,” Mr Wetzler said.
"We make 300 meals and have about 180 people in the march each year... but we're looking at a possible cancellation.”
A few "hardcore” local members rally each year to run the day, which also includes a dawn service, entertainment and catering, but more help is needed.
"Word's gotten out there and lit a fire under a few people so we'll be holding an extra meeting,” he said.
"We're hoping for people to help out with setting up, putting away and fundraising.
"My wife Tracy and I own our own business, Wetzler's General Supply shop, and although we work seven days a week, we have staff who help us set up the event.
"One year I even paid my workers extra hours to set up Anzac Day.”
Mr Wetzler said he understood that life got busy, but when it came to Australian history and the significance of Anzac Day, it' was something that should be made priority.
"We don't need the fanfare to have it, so long as it is celebrated somehow,” he said.
"My father was a World War II veteran at Papua New Guinea and you wouldn't have these organisations to this day without the brave men and women who gave us freedom.
"I want to stress that all organisations are important but Anzac Day is the pinnacle.
"For every dawn service, which was when they landed at Anzac Cove, I get up at 2.30-3am and although it's hard, at least I'm not on those boats at Gallipoli.”
The importance of carrying on the history to the region's youth is also paramount to Mr Wetzler, who said the turnout of school children from Marmor and Bajool was fantastic.
Hoping to make a special impact this Anzac Day, Mr Wetzler will be displaying a framed Australian flag that a local cadet took to Iraq after becoming a soldier.
Mr Wetzler paid for half the cost of framing the flag and the committee footed the other half.
"We were one in 12 towns to be awarded one of these flags (from overseas duty),” he said.
"That's how important our event is.
"The flag will be there this year, and we're thinking of getting people to salute the flag as they go by to say thanks to the men and women in uniform.”
The Dawn Service will definitely go ahead, kicking off at 4:27am.