In light of National Volunteer Week, celebrated from May 15 to 21, we bring you the story of Bronwyn Flack, one of RSL Victoria’s hundreds of volunteers.
Bronwyn is an example of the impact volunteers have in supporting individuals and communities.
Her connection to the RSL didn’t start until much later in life, having only joined as a service member about five years ago.
“It took me that long to realise I was eligible to be a member of the RSL.”
Bronwyn served with the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps (WRAAC) from 1971 to 1973.
Since becoming a member of the Bacchus March RSL Sub-Branch, Bronwyn has been motivated to volunteer, with an aim to help veterans understand their entitlements and receive them.
The almost 70-year-old now coordinates the RSL Active programs in the western region, which includes Bacchus Marsh, Melton and Ballan.
Their RSL Active launch happened on the cusp of the first COVID lockdowns and subsequently got off to a slow start. However, Bronwyn’s passion and determination has seen the initiative grow.
"I see the benefit of RSL Active. I see the enjoyment that it gives the participants. It gives them time to interact with other veterans. As we’ve grown, our events also include their partners or families, plus also a growing number of first responders are now participating too."
Her volunteering with RSL Active involves planning activities and events, getting quotes, organising locations and logistics, and drumming up interest and support. Her consistent encouragement can be key in breaking down the apprehension some veterans may feel about joining the program.
“We have some young veterans who I think the world of. I tell them they should be at certain activities, and they do it,” she says laughing.
From bushwalks to lawn bowls, archery, stand-up paddleboarding and shooting, Bronwyn says there’s something for everyone in the RSL Active program.
"We’re concentrating on having activities where the veterans feel comfortable."
And she says it’s an incredibly rewarding “job.”
“You don’t need acknowledgment, all you need is to know that you’ve helped a veteran in some way, it may be in the smallest way.”