Ma­hogany Creek para­medic hon­oured

Hills Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Lau­ren Pi­lat

AN­DREW Richard­son is just as shocked to be awarded a pres­ti­gious medal as he was when he got ac­cepted into the St John Am­bu­lance Ser­vice.

The com­mu­nity para­medic from Ma­hogany Creek was pre­sented with an Am­bu­lance Ser­vice Medal, hon­our­ing his con­tri­bu­tion to the or­gan­i­sa­tion for the past 26 years.

Mr Richard­son, a for­mer high school mu­sic teacher, left the class­room to be­come a stu­dent am­bu­lance of­fi­cer in 1992.

The clas­si­cal gui­tarist said he had “itchy feet” at the time and wanted to try some­thing dif­fer­ent, which led him to qual­ify as a para­medic three years later.

“To my sur­prise, I got into the ser­vice,” Mr Richard­son said.

“It was dif­fi­cult to get in back then – it was a bit like ap­ply­ing for the fire bri­gade or the po­lice force – so I was shocked to have been ac­cepted.”

The fa­ther-of-three went on to hold sev­eral po­si­tions within St John, in­clud­ing a metropoli­tan para­medic and on­road tu­tor, where he drew on his teach­ing skills to train and men­tor new re­cruits.

With a pas­sion for shar­ing knowl­edge and de­vel­op­ing new of­fi­cers, Mr Richard­son be­came one of two ca­reer paramedics ap­pointed in 2005 to the Northam sub cen­tre.

The pair trans­formed the ru­ral am­bu­lance sta­tion, which his­tor­i­cally was only run by vol­un­teers, into what is now the Wheat­belt re­gional of­fice.

Mr Richard­son said his role in­cluded op­er­a­tions and train­ing within the cen­tral Wheat­belt, cov­er­ing Cun­derdin, Quairad­ing, York, Bev­er­ley, Brook­ton and Pin­gelly.

“I’m also in­volved in emer­gency man­age­ment pre­pared­ness, which in­cludes pre­par­ing us for earth­quakes, floods, fires and get­ting ev­ery­thing co-or­di­nated in the re­gion,” he said.

“It’s not just me, though, there’s other com­mu­nity paramedics, so when things like the Bod­ding­ton fires hap­pen, a few years back, we ros­ter through the com­mand role and work with a vol­un­teer work­force.”

Mr Richard­son said it was for this rea­son that other com­mu­nity paramedics as well as vol­un­teers de­served recog­ni­tion be­cause all that he does was with a team.

Hav­ing been part of “tragic” in­ci­dents, Mr Richard­son said he was proud of the work he’d achieved but didn’t con­sider him­self a hero in any way.

“There’s no doubt you’re proud to do the job we do and that’s the rea­son we do it but the hero sta­tus doesn’t sit well with any of us,” he said.

“It drives you to an ex­tent of some­thing to live up to but most of us shun the hero sta­tus.”

“It’s just another job with its ups and downs.” St John Am­bu­lance com­mu­nity para­medic An­drew Richard­son, who has been recog­nised with an Am­bu­lance Ser­vice Medal.

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