A para­medic who died serv­ing oth­ers

Post - - Opinion - RAVI GOVEN­DER

THIS col­umn is ded­i­cated to the un­sung he­roes in our com­mu­nity. They are not su­per­hu­man. They are or­di­nary peo­ple, like you and I.

The re­cent dev­as­tat­ing freak storms that rav­aged parts of Gaut­eng and KwaZulu-Natal brought a large num­ber of th­ese ex­tra­or­di­nary hu­mans to the fore.

The sad case of ER24 para­medic Vicky Goven­der caught my eye and I dwelt on it for days.

On Oc­to­ber 10, Goven­der and his am­bu­lance part­ner, Tracy Bed­er­son, braved the storm and rushed around at­tend­ing to emer­gen­cies.

They rushed to a col­li­sion on the N2 when they lost con­trol of the re­sponse ve­hi­cle in the flooded roads.

Both were rushed to hospi­tal, but sadly Goven­der lost his life three days later.

A life­saver, a hus­band, de­voted fa­ther and hero. Gone too soon.

Floods of mes­sages of con­do­lences came in for the de­ceased show­ing that his death touched the psy­che of the na­tion.

Sym­pa­thy mes­sages came from qual­i­fied paramedics from afar as Gaut­eng who said they had trained un­der Goven­der and he had made a dif­fer­ence in their lives.

ER24 spokesper­son Werner Ver­maak ex­plained the jobs of peo­ple like Goven­der.

“They place their lives on the line. They go in where the ma­jor­ity of mem­bers in the pub­lic or gen­eral peo­ple would not.

“When you are at your worst con­di­tion, they are the peo­ple that an­swer the call and go out to as­sist. They do not think twice to go out and as­sist peo­ple that need help.”

On a more per­sonal level, one of my best friends, San­jay Laljith, lo­cal ac­tor and fire de­part­ment em­ployee, knew Goven­der and at­tested to his be­ing a like­able and ded­i­cated para­medic.

It was said that he al­ways had a smile on his face, was al­ways ready to help his fel­low hu­man be­ing and was a role model in the Mere­bank com­mu­nity.

His wife and three chil­dren bade good­bye to him that morn­ing but could never have imag­ined the fi­nal­ity of that good­bye.

So too with other life­savers, such as fire­men and po­lice of­fi­cers.

They put their lives on the line for us daily. How­ever, sadly, they only come to our con­scious­ness when one of them dies or is hurt in the line of duty.

Also, like Goven­der, most of th­ese peo­ple have fam­i­lies. Think se­ri­ously about their fam­ily life.

Their loved one can be taken away from them at any time. Every mo­ment spent with their dad or mom is a very pre­cious time.

Yet they un­selfishly al­low them to go out there on our be­half and look af­ter our well-be­ing.

To serve and pro­tect to­tal strangers. To take a bul­let for you. To give their life for me.

I would say the fam­i­lies of th­ese men and women, who serve us are quite the he­roes them­selves.

I would like, through the medium of this col­umn and news­pa­per, to thank them for the sac­ri­fices they make in shar­ing their loved ones with us.

We read about crooked po­lice­men and also traf­fic of­fi­cers so­lic­it­ing bribes to quash a fine, and we can make the mis­take of tar­ring all of them with the same brush.

How­ever, your fa­ther may be a po­lice of­fi­cer, or your un­cle or grand­fa­ther could have been one.

Surely you would not, in your wildest imag­i­na­tion, be­lieve that they are, or could have been, cor­rupt.

Let’s com­mend th­ese brave souls. It can even ex­tend to se­cu­rity of­fi­cers that re­spond to home alarms. Their jobs are risky too.

I would be re­miss if I did not men­tion Prem Bal­ram and his Re­ac­tion Unit South Africa (Rusa) that op­er­ates out of the North Coast.

Their suc­cess rate in catch­ing and ap­pre­hend­ing crim­i­nals, who prey on in­no­cent house­holds is off the radar.

It has been said that res­i­dents in dan­ger call Rusa be­fore any other law agency. Bal­ram and his team put their lives on the line reg­u­larly.

So too does his com­padre, Ri­vaaj Ram­das, who is in charge of a “brother­hood” of crime fight­ers.

They do a ster­ling job in as­sist­ing the pub­lic and root­ing out crim­i­nals.

What is com­mend­able about both groups is that it’s not just play­ing “cow­boys and crooks” or “cops and rob­bers”.

When­ever there is an emer­gency, what­ever it is, they are on the scene as­sist­ing. Be it re­mov­ing a tree that has fallen across a road or res­cu­ing a pet, they rise to the oc­ca­sion.

In the storm that struck KwaZulu-Natal, both groups were prom­i­nent in as­sist­ing the be­lea­guered com­mu­ni­ties, work­ing late into the night help­ing peo­ple with flooded homes and other dis­as­ters.

So, as our ded­i­cated po­lice and se­cu­rity of­fi­cers daily face armed crim­i­nals, or a fire­fighter faces a deadly back-draft in a blazing build­ing – pray for them.

Pray that God keeps them safe and pro­tects them.

Hope­fully they will go back home to their lov­ing fam­i­lies and all will be good again.

Un­til the next day.

Ravi Goven­der is an en­tre­pre­neur and phi­lan­thropist. E-mail: rav­igoven­der@telkomsa.net

Para­medic Vicky Goven­der was a life­saver, a hus­band, de­voted fa­ther and hero.

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