Each year Legacy pins all its hopes on a badge campaign, and it hopes Illawarra residents will stay sharp and stick with the cause.
Legacy Week has, since 1942, been the major fund-raising campaign for Legacy, which provides support to families of deceased war veterans. Legacy Week, running September 1-7, kicked off a little early on Friday, with the sixth annual Legacy Business and Community Lunch at City Diggers.
"The Illawarra business community has lent great support to our cause to kick-start our appeals week," president of Wollongong and South Coast Legacy Philip McNamara said.
"We provide support for families of war veterans, financial aid, help with administration and to access benefits. It's all about that one word, 'support'," he said.
Dr David Williams, chairman of the Business and Community Lunch committee, said the event had raised more than $120,000 since beginning in 2008. With over 250 business leaders and identities in attendance, Dr Williams was confident of raising up to $20,000 from the event.
"Events like this also create awareness of what Legacy does in the community," he said.
"We are very well supported by the business community, and the actions of Legacy and war veterans do touch that business community."
Friday's lunch hosted special guest Darren Flanagan, involved in rescue efforts at the scene of the Beaconsfield mine disaster, as well as John Gellibrand, the grandson of the founder of Legacy Sir John Gellibrand. Mr Gellibrand - 80 years old, a lifelong Legacy member and currently chairman of the Narooma Legacy group, said the organisation's role had changed significantly over the years.
"We used to mainly look after the children of deceased soldiers, but a big part now is aged care for war widows," he said. "Once the children grow up and move on, we have to look after the partners who are left without a husband or wife."
Mr Gellibrand also said that, as a result of the changing nature of today's military, the very nature and structure of Legacy had changed too.
"We're also looking at husbands who have lost their wives in war, we're taking ladies as Legacy members, and we're helping the children go to university as well."
Mr McNamara said Legacy organisations from Bega to Helensburgh aimed to raise up to $50,000 this year through their badge campaign, where small Legacy pins are sold at supermarkets, shopping centres, hardware stores like Bunnings, and at community events through the region.
Legacy Badge Day this year will be September 7. For more information, or to purchase fund-raising merchandise, see legacy.com.au.