Brookton St John community paramedic Drew Richardson joined the ambulance service hoping to find a job that was “constructive, challenging and rewarding”.
Now, 28 years on, he has been recognised for his efforts.
St John WA held its annual Recognition Awards on Thursday, March 5, when 45 members were acknowledged for exceptional service.
He was one of the 13 staff members to receive a clasp from WA Governor Kim Beazley.
Mr Richardson received a first clasp to the National Medal for 25 years of service to St John and the community.
As a community paramedic, Mr Richardson strongly supports the country volunteer model and is dedicated to providing the support and training required to ensure the strength of sub-centres.
“You feel like you are a part of something very great and very necessary,” Mr Richardson said.
“Aside from assisting our volunteer emergency medical technicians and assistants with ambulance calls, it also involves supporting our volunteers in their training and clinical development and liaising with other agencies,” he said.
“You soon get a sense of community ... of belonging to something.”
Mr Richardson said the volunteer workforce was crucial.
“I have enough on-road experience to be credible, but often find the situations in regional WA are anything but textbook,” he said.
“I often learn from the volunteers as much as they do from me.
“They each have their fair share of life experience and local knowledge, and I think the best approach to this role is to work with them — that’s where the healthiest mutual respect develops.”
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