Time for community to help St John
It has been more than two decades since former truck driver Paul Connon started working as a volunteer for St John.
Now a qualified paramedic, the Green Bay resident has made helping others his career.
Also a member of Titirangi’s volunteer fire brigade for 27 years, Mr Connon decided to join St John after several of his fellow firefighters became involved.
“I only volunteered for about six months. I just helped out, looking after patients. After that I decided to make a career of it. I liked the work.”
He started out as an ambulance officer and worked his way up to paramedic.
Working out of Mt Roskill station, Mr Connon works four 12-hour shifts in a row and gets four days off.
“It can be tiring but you get used to it. Getting four days off afterwards is nice.”
While out on the job, Mr Connon works with another paramedic or ambulance offi
They assess the scenes they are called to, make sure they are safe to enter and decide whether more resources are needed.
“We treat the patient and transport them if necessary.”
He can be called out to work anywhere around the Auckland region and has dealt with all kinds of situations in his time.
Injured children are the hardest patients to deal with for him.
“It can be stressful. You’ve got to put up a shutter. We’ve got plenty of peer support for anyone who wants it.”
Along with his normal duties, Mr Connon is part of the St John team that attends motorsport events to provide support if needed.
St John’s annual appeal is on until Saturday and northern regional general manager Stephen Franklin is urging people to get behind the organisation.
“Every year our ambulance officers treat and transport more than 320,000 patients, attend nearly 250,000 emergency incidents and travel 14.6 million kilometres by ambulance,” he says.
Mr Franklin says the service relies on community fundraising to maintain ambulance service levels, fund things like ambulance stations, ambulances and other vehicles and its caring and community programmes.
St John appeal envelopes have been sent out and people can also donate at www. stjohn.org.nz or by phoning 0800-785-646.
Helping others: St John paramedic Paul Connon started as a volunteer and loves his work.