Taken from The Advocate by Baz Ruddick
ASPIRE to inspire, read the words next to the entrance to the newly opened Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird VC MG Room at the Burnie RSL.
A place that can be utilised for the betterment of the community, Burnie RSL Club president Frank McKechnie said the room would bring the community in and “bridge the generational gap”.
Since the posthumous awarding of the Victoria Cross to Corporal Baird, his name and his legacy have been carried on and continue to help people through the charity Cam’s Cause.
“There have been tough times. But words cant describe how humbled we have been by Cameron’s impact” Corporal Baird’s father Doug said.
Set up by a tight group of Corporal Baird’s friends, including his former primary school teacher, the charity undertakes various community initiatives, scholarships and offers immediate financial support for returned commandos through the Commando Welfare Trust.
Wearing a tie in the colors of the commandos and a commemorative bracelet presented by them, Mr Baird spoke about how the charity is carrying out initiatives Corporal Baird held close to his heart when alive.
Military sacrifices aside, Mr Baird holds the memory of his son as a “good person” close to his heart.
“People have told me that and it is the greatest accolade a parent can receive,” he said.
One of his most treasured images is his son at peace with everything, sitting in his room and strumming a guitar.
“He was an ACDC fan.
“You can see the photo [in the room] of a Metallica flag they had strung up on a long wheel grader, but he also had a love of opera,” he said.
The fact that the room was formerly used to house poker machines but was now a space for the community is something Mr Baird thinks would have delighted his son.
“I think he would have said ‘one less evil in the world,” he said.
“It’s [the room] is the public’s way of acknowledging a great Australian whose sacrifice allowed us to live the life we can and be thankful that there is less evil in the world.”
Humble Burnie boy to Corporal
Born in Burnie in 1981, Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird VC MG became the 100th recipient of the Victoria Cross posthumously after he was killed in battle in Afghanistan in June, 2013.
A keen footballer and son of former Cooee Bulldog’s couch Doug Baird, Corporal Baird enrolled in the army in the year 2000 and eventually made his way to the second Commando regiment.
Hailed as a fantastic soldier with “uncompromising spirit and honour”, in the words of his father he was the “humble Burnie boy” who became an “Australian legend”.
A memorial plinth and dedication wall sit at the Burnie Cenotaph and a bronze statue of Corporal Baird will be soon be unveiled at Currumbin RSL.
In addition to this, the Australian compound at Al Minhad Air Base in Dubai has taken the name Camp Baird.
Corporal Baird also received a Medal for Gallantry, Australian Active Service Medal with Clasp East Timor, Clasp Iraq 2003 and Clasp International Coalition Against Terrorism, among others