Photography: supplied by Jacqueline Pascarl

Jacqueline Pascarl is no stranger to the world of volunteering and charity. She’s spent decades championing the needs of women and children, both domestically and overseas and has helped raise millions of dollars’ worth of humanitarian aid and relief to be distributed to people who need it most.

This accomplished woman is so humble and yet so proud of her charitable achievements, which includes Operation Angel, a not-for-profit humanitarian organisation she founded in 1997. That’s only one of her many feats. In 1995, Jacqueline established Operation Book Power in parts of Africa and South Africa, and in 1998, she was appointed Special Ambassador for CARE International and worked as an emergency aid worker in Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor.

But more recently, she’s expanded her charitable efforts and generously given of her time to the RSL.

Jacqueline joined the RSL about four years ago, after a long affiliation through her uncles, who were all service members.

When she joined, Jacqueline held the prestigious title of National Vice Chair of the Defence Reserves – the first woman appointed to the National Executive. She’s also served on the board of the Australian National Veterans Arts Museum (ANVAM). “I was very aware of PTSD and the pressures on Australia having been at war now for the longest period ever since 2002 until currently.”

"The toll is immeasurable for our returned service people – men and women. I’ve just felt that the RSL is a great champion of that and should continue to be so."

Not one to shy away from a challenge, she made it her mission amid a pandemic to raise much needed funds for the RSL. Last year, Jacqueline rasied just over 10-thousand dollars during the Poppy Appeal. “I don’t like doing things in a piddly way. So, I thought we’re in really dire circumstances, we’re in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic, older veterans are much more at risk of COVID-19. So, I made it my mission to not break the law, so instead of setting up a table and trying to sell badges, I decided to become a moving target.”

It was a win-win because Jacqueline also notched up her steps. “I did 80 to 100 kilometres of walking!”

All while making a fashion statement, too. “Because of my Defence Force commitments over the last few years, I have a collection of Poppy dresses or Poppy blouses and I have a brooch that Her Majesty the Queen gave me many years ago, which is a beautiful Poppy brooch as well. So, boots for walking and a dress!

She says it’s so pleasing to see that the Australian public values its veterans. “They want to know that the money is going back into veteran services at the coalface, and they also tell me their stories about their family and the pride they have about a family member who served or is serving.”

There seem to be many factors that drive Jacqueline’s extraordinary passion and calling to do and give back – but there was one sentiment that really stood out. “I’ve had a very privileged life, I think. I’ve had various trials and tribulations, but I’ve had amazing experiences on top of that. And I just think that we create the type of society in which we want to dwell.”