“Eventually our beautiful daughter Jeannie failed to respond to the long term regime of medicinal drugs, special diet, family love and support, and left us to meet her maker in September 2007,” says Reg.
“It was such a gut-wrenching experience for an anguished father and a desperate family - watching our beautiful daughter’s life slip away daily in the terminal stages of her illness.
“I miss my daughter terribly and still mourn for her in my quiet moments and say a short prayer for her before I start my day and before I go to sleep each day. The healing will take some time as she was my favourite girl since she was a baby.”
“But we have weathered the storm,” he says. “I praised our Lord for giving us the strength to provide the best for our little girl, with what little resources I had at the time on a small military pension, to make her final moments a little comforting.”
Reg is thinking of writing Jeannie’s story one day. But right now he’s writing a book about former army mate, Bruce Copeland. The book looks at HIV/AIDS as a serious national issue that the government is not seriously addressing despite the political rhetoric. “It’s based around the work done in the last ten years by Bruce and a small band of courageous people,” says reg
In recent times, a group of concerned Papua New Guineans convinced Reg to be involved in community advocacy to help others in need of professional support. He has given his time freely, mainly ex-servicemen with no government support, who could not afford the high fees of “those who charge an arm and a leg for advice”.
Reg is also deputy chairman of the Papua Focus Group which is in the process of launching the first Papuan newspaper, Papua Gadona (Voice of Papua).
“I am encouraging Papuans to contribute anything of interest to raise our people’s awareness of what being a Papuan is like today in PNG,” he says.
“There is a growing groundswell of Papuans who desire autonomy in future,” says Reg. “The majority of Papuans feel PNG is not really a united country and they feel marginalised and failed by the present political system.
“The system is corrupt to its core and politicians have let us down since self-government. We want to see Papua on its own as an autonomous region to develop a secure and peaceful society for the next generation of smart Papuans.
“This sentiment is sowing the seeds of a future autonomy push by Papuans as they think of the good old days under the Australian administration. Life then was good, secure and safe – but not now under the present political leadership where insecurity and the threat from primitive non-Papuan groups have increased over the years.”
Welcome aboard, Captain Reg. Controversy and all, we look forward to hearing a lot more from you.