Craig heads out for his last pa­trol

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - DONNA-MARIE MILNE

PORT Dou­glas am­bu­lance of­fi­cerin-charge Craig Down­ing will don his ambo’s uni­form for the final time to­day be­fore set­ting off to help re­build his home town of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Craig’s yearn­ing for home was awak­ened by the dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake that hit the city in Fe­bru­ary last year and he ad­mits feel­ing frus­trated by his in­abil­ity to help at the time of the dis­as­ter.

“The re­lief ef­fort was fed­er­ally funded, which meant only Aus­tralian pass­port hold­ers were el­i­gi­ble to join re­lief teams,” he said.

“It was hard watch­ing the events un­fold and be un­able to help.”

Craig’s ca­reer high­light so far is qual­i­fy­ing as an in­ten­sive care para­medic, and he is also ex­cited to go back to Christchurch with the trop­i­cal medic­i­nal knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence he has picked up in his time in the Port Dou­glas area.

“My time in Port has given me a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence, some of that I could never ex­plain to peo­ple unfa- mil­iar with the re­gion,” he said.

“From snake bites to stingers, there is so much di­ver­sity in the treat­ment of pa­tients. From res­cue mis­sions on the reef to the rain­for­est, I have seen so much in my ca­reer here.”

Be­fore his de­par­ture Craig is keen to ac­knowl­edge the sup­port both he and his col­leagues re­ceive from the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“Peo­ple in the Port Dou­glas and Moss­man re­gion re­ally seem to re­alise the piv­otal role the am­bu­lance ser­vice pro­vides to the area, es­pe­cially given how re­mote we are here at times,” Craig said.

“The com­mu­nity gives and gives back to the am­bu­lance ser­vice.

“Last year we re­ceived $25,000 from the ro­tary club to buy a new de­fib­ril­la­tor, a life sav­ing tool that has been used to save lives within the com­mu­nity.”

Af­ter four years in Port Dou­glas, Craig con­cedes he will miss the sun­shine beaches and spirit of the lo­cal peo­ple, but is look­ing for­ward to re­con­nect­ing with fam­ily af­ter a lengthy 12-year hia­tus from home.

Leav­ing town: chief ambo Craig


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