Photo of Leah Kemp with her family marking Veterans' Families Day
This day recognises the immense courage and dedication shown by veteran and Defence families

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As South Australia prepares to mark the inaugural Veterans’ Families Day on May 15, for one Adelaide mother, it will be a day that holds particular significance.

Leah Kemp’s late husband, Matthew Kemp, was a former Australian Army armourer, who served both in the regular forces and as an Army Reservist before his passing in 2021 after battling cancer. With two young sons, Nathaniel (9) and Oscar (7), Leah reflects on the importance of honouring veterans and their families on this special day.

More than a day of recognition, Leah said Veterans’ Families Day was a time to reminisce about special memories, acknowledge the sacrifices made and celebrate the milestones achieved by veteran and Defence families across South Australia.

“As a family, Veterans’ Families Day means everything to us,” said Ms Kemp. “It’s a day of remembrance, gratitude and solidarity just for veteran families.”

Members of defence and veteran families can face significant sacrifices, including partners giving up their careers to accommodate frequent relocations and fulfilling the role of two parents while the serving member is deployed. Children in veteran families also encounter a unique set of challenges associated with life as a military family.

With the introduction of Veterans’ Families Day, South Australia is the first state to formally honour the backbone of the veteran community – the families, children, partners and spouses of current and former serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members.

“This day recognises the immense courage and dedication shown by veteran and Defence families,” Ms Kemp added.

When her husband passed away, the Kemp family leaned on the steadfast support provided by the Legacy Club of South Australia and Broken Hill Inc. Having served veterans families for over a century, Legacy has provided a much-needed financial and emotional aid to the Kemp family over the past three years.

“Legacy has been there for every milestone. Whenever I need them, I can call them up and they are there to support us every step of the way,” said Ms Kemp.

On 15 May Leah and her family will spend time in quiet reflection, cherishing memories of Matthew during his time both in and out of uniform.

“While I will be working on Veterans’ Families Day, I look forward to coming home and spending quality time with my boys.”

Veterans’ Families Day will be held in alignment with International Day of Families which is also marked on 15 May.

A range of community events have been organised by local organisations to bring Defence and veteran families together to celebrate the day.

Event information will be shared on Veterans SA’s Facebook page as details come to hand.

Learn more about Veterans’ Families Day.