Chaplain Ged Oldfield has crossed regional NSW and the world on his way to becoming the new Port Macquarie RSL Sub Branch (RSL) padre.
The 57 year old was originally born in England before emigrating with family to Australia in 1965. He undertook schooling initially in Fiji before completing boarding school at Trinity Grammer School in Sydney.
Mr Oldfield worked as a fire protection officer when he left school before joining the Department of Corrective Services as a prison officer at Long Bay Correctional Complex.
"I worked in the prison system at Long Bay and from there transferred into court security in Port Macquarie in 1992," he said.
"While I was working I was connected to the Salvation Army as a church member. There was a constant yearning to help people.
"Part of working within the court you are dealing on a daily basis with the prisoner and their family. To me it became a juggling act of wanting to help people in times of crisis."
Mr Oldfield came to the aid of a police officer under attack in 2004, he was injured during the struggle. This moment became the catalyst to pursue a lifetime of helping members of the community in crisis.
"I moved to Armidale and went into ministry with the Salvation Army as a rural chaplain," he said.
"That was right in the middle of the Global Financial Crisis. I was visiting people on rural properties which was difficult at times.
"Farmers were leaving their families to go off site to work as shearers just to keep the farms going.
"I would get the call to visit properties and give aid. This could be giving them financial assistance or connections to people in the community to help them.
"It was confronting at times because a lot of people were suffering."
From 2006 to 2012, Mr Oldfield began training as a Salvation Army minister before being appointed as Public Relations Director for Northern NSW and later, Division Business Manager in Armidale.
He also acted as chaplain for the RSL, National Servicemen's Association, Rural Fire Brigade, Vietnam veterans and hospital in Armidale.
"I think it was a part of my personality that I really wanted to help others.The Salvation Army would call it 'Christianity with its sleeves rolled up'," said Mr Oldfield.
"It's an opportunity not just to be a minister to people but to help people in times of crisis.
"I could help people through drug addiction, suicide, domestic violence and it was an opportunity to make a real difference to people in their time of need."
He resigned as minister in 2014 to take a more focused approach on helping people deal with grief and loss.
"I wanted to focus more on people that were going through stressful situations with grief. It was something I'd dealt with as a Salvation Army officer and I felt there was a need for me to branch into that," he said.
"I did some private training as a civil celebrant and was appointed in late 2014. That was getting back to helping people during times of crisis.
"I moved from Sydney back to Port Macquarie during 2016."
Despite having a family history of grandparents and parents who served during World War One and Two, Mr Oldfield said retiring chaplain Carl Moses has left 'huge shoes to fill' for him.
Mr Moses signed off after 10 years during his last official appointment at the Remembrance Day service in Port Macquarie last year. Mr Oldfield began by taking over the reins for the 2020 Bangka Island massacre commemoration service on February 14 this year.
"They are big shoes to fill and Carl has done an excellent job for the last 10 years," said Mr Oldfield.
"I've got huge shoes to fill to come in and try to be that person that people trust to speak to. I respect our RSL members for what they did because of my own connection to my grand parents.
"The stories that my grand parents told me of war do resound with the people who have come back.
"I had this connection with people to let them tell their story and listen to their journey. You can reconnect with people and let them know there is a listening ear for them.
"It's all about connection and trust."
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