On the 19th March 2009, Bree Till’s husband, Sergeant Brett Till, was killed while disarming a Taliban Improvised Explosive Device.
At the time, Bree was only eight weeks pregnant with the child they share, Ziggy, and caring for the children Brett had from another relationship, Jacob and Taleah.
The events that followed were highly challenging for Bree and her young family.
Bree was not only dealing with the emotional trauma of losing a husband but a number of financial challenges, which meant she may have had to move out of her home.
On top of juggling the stresses of her advancing pregnancy and financial turmoil while looking after Brett’s older children, Bree was overwhelmed by the bureaucracy and paperwork associated with losing a husband overseas.
Despite the significant hardships losing a husband to war has created for Bree and her family, the government was unable to provide adequate support.
Bree’s story is a sombre example of why the Commando Welfare Trust exists, as most Australians would be outraged to learn how little financial support is afforded to families of those killed while fighting for our country.
We provide Bree and the children Brett left behind with the ongoing support needed to navigate the daily challenges associated with losing a father and a husband to war.
Admirably, Bree has been able to turn her tragedy into a force for good.
For ten years, Bree has actively advocated for adaptations to policy and procedures for the Australian Defence Force, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and ex-service organisations to meet the needs of contemporary veteran families.
Bree currently works for Open Arms (formerly Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service) as a Community and Peer Advisor, a program that embraces lived experiences to provide peer support to veterans and their families.