I said in my introduction that I am a volunteer with St John Ambulance. It all started when I retired and was looking for something constructive to do – other than making things!
Last time I mentioned, like so many others, I am one of those people who had an ambition, or two, which just didn’t seem to work out! I had, also, wanted to be a nurse and had a great interest in all things medical! So St John seemed a good place to start and, wonderfully, I wasn’t too old!
Never, in my wildest imaginings, did I think it would lead to some of the amazing things I have done or the special people I have met!
I started off, very cautiously, thinking I’d just be a basic first aider and do all the report taking whilst others dealt with the patients. But this wasn’t to be…. And I found myself, a few short months later, on a course to make me a higher level!
As a first aider I attend lots of different events and venues from theatres to school sports days. Such a varied and interesting world was being opened up to me. I also attended some bush fires, which are, sadly, quite prevalent in Australia. I saw, firsthand, the devastation that the fires can cause but, also, witnessed the fantastic courage of those involved in them.
Time moved on and soon I was dipping into all sorts of volunteering positions within the organisation.
In spite of an early morning start time (and I am not a morning person!) I went off to do meet and greet and clerical work as a First Aid Services and Training Assistant. The manager for this department approached me with a request for a photo as I was their first volunteer. My goodness – it turned out to be almost a two hour photo shoot and suddenly, my photo was plastered all over the place – even in the newspaper. Me – who hated having her photo taken! Then, to my amazement, I was asked to make a promotional video. This meant I was going on You Tube – as I said earlier, never in my wildest imaginings! (If you’d like to see the You Tube, just go to “St John Ambulance Change Lives’ where you will find out everything about volunteering with the organisation and my video!)
About the same time I joined the Volunteer Recruiting section and was going out and about to spread the word about volunteering with St. John Ambulance! They have such a varied choice of things you can do with them; there is pretty much something for everyone!
The next venture involved something I loved to do. I love to read books to children and had done so in the past for the primary school my children attended. A super book called ‘000 Hero,’ a story of a little boy being hurt whilst playing at school and his friends knowing how to call for an ambulance, was released by St John’s Early Childhood Education department. Readers were needed to go out to schools, day care centres and even bigger events to read it to the children and to teach them how to ring for an ambulance in an emergency. I was off on a new venture again!
This was soon followed by joining First Aid Awareness, visiting varied venues to share first aid knowledge , how to do CPR and tours through an ambulance with the general public. It is a great opportunity to see the workings of an ambulance, to touch and get to understand some of the equipment, and even to lie on the stretcher if you want! It is really worthwhile for children as it may go to help with some of the fears they have about ambulances.
Aside from all of this excitement has been the huge privilege of helping people who are suddenly taken sick or have an accident. I have found myself in world of such high regard and respect that it is very humbling to be part of such a very special organisation.
Volunteering is all about giving out to people in general but I have always said that it must give you something too. We are only human and we do look for benefits for ourselves, even if it is just a worthwhile way to fill our days.
I have been given first class skills to help others, the opportunity to go to events that I couldn’t otherwise attend and to meet so many great people!
What more could I ask for?