Belmont, Perth,

St John Ambulance WA acknowledges volunteer heroes

Outstanding individuals and the state’s best ambulance sub centre were recognised at the St John Ambulance WA Volunteer of the Year Awards on Friday, 23 August.

Awards for best Event Health Services volunteers and the outstanding Country Ambulance volunteer were presented at an event held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

St John Chief Executive Officer Tony Ahern said volunteers were vital in the provision of a country ambulance service and he was delighted to name Barbara Copeland, of Christmas Island sub centre, the Country Ambulance Volunteer of the Year.

“Barbara has passion and drive and in a short time she has improved the training of volunteers on Christmas Island as well as grown the number of volunteers from four to 15 as callouts rose from five to 150 a year,” he said.

“She has been the sub-centre chairwoman for the past three years and the number of call outs she assists in is the highest for the sub centre.”

Gail Elson was named Event Health Services (EHS) Volunteer of the Year after an intensive 2013 and a long history of service to St John Ambulance.

“Gail has taken on a huge leadership role in providing first aid at major events. She has assisted at all major events in 2013, racking up 197 duty hours,” Mr Ahern said

“She has also assisted with the training and development of a significant number of new volunteers and her personality, knowledge and dedication is much valued by St John.”

The Event Health Services Young Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Tom Shuker of the Eastern Hills Division.

Mr Ahern said Tom was an extremely dedicated volunteer who had given many hours in a short space of time.

“Tom is the first to put his hand up to assist at an event and he goes out his way to make his patients as comfortable as possible,” he said.

Meekatharra was named the State’s best ambulance sub centre. Mr Ahern said Meekatharra has enjoyed a productive 2013 by boosting its volunteer numbers and running an innovative community engagement program.

“The community engagement program gave the Meekatharra community a lift and led to the creation of a hip hop song and video that has now had more than 5600 views on YouTube” he said.

“The video aims to teach people about the ambulance service and when it is appropriate to call for assistance.”

St John covers the largest area of any single ambulance service in the world. This is done through more than 100 country sub centres which are staffed entirely by volunteer ambulance officers and 13 country sub centres with a mix of volunteer and career ambulance officers.

Event Health Services provides first aid support at more than 1600 events annually. These include the Perth Royal Show, Skyworks and Leavers celebrations.

Complete list of finalists

Sub Centre of the Year

  • Wickepin – Wheatbelt
  • Margaret River – South West
  • Carnarvon – Mid West
  • Meekatharra – Mid West
  • Coolgardie – Goldfields
  • Katanning – Great Southern
  • Newman – North West

Country Ambulance Service Volunteer of the Year

  • Barbara Copeland – Christmas Island sub centre
  • Trevor Prout – Tambellup sub centre
  • Sharon Weguelin – Corrigin sub centre
  • Carole Minney – Mt Magnet sub centre
  • Partrick Hourigan – Coolgardie sub centre
  • John Veraat – Pinjarra sub centre

Young Volunteer of the Year - EHS

  • Grace Moller – Stirling Division
  • Tom Shuker – Eastern Hills Division
  • Chelsie Wootton – Melville Cadets Division

Volunteer of the Year – EHS

  • Gail Elson – Belmont Division
  • Philip Groom – Stirling Division
  • Victor Teal – Eastern Hills Division