An ambulance 2DRESQ!
The Wright Family Foundation has come
“2DRESQ” (to the rescue) of St John Katikati, donating a new ambulance to the area.
The ambulance will be on the roads servicing Katikati and the surrounding community after it was dedicated at a ceremony on Friday.
The Wright Family Foundation has funded the full
$216,000 cost of the ambulance, and also supplied a personalised plate for it —
The ambulance is named “Benny”, named after Hibiscus Coast boy Benny McSweeney, whose life was saved by St John after he fell into a freezing pond when he was 20 months old at the Auckland Domain. Benny is now a happy and healthy 12 year old and was at Friday’s event.
Wright Family Foundation Chief Executive Chloe Wright, who lives in O¯ mokoroa, was inspired to donate an ambulance after reading Benny’s story in a letter from St John.
“I see Benny as everyone’s child. We are all vulnerable — everyone at some time has a connection to someone who needs an ambulance, and we are so fortunate to have this service available to us,” said Chloe.
“St John does an incredible job and we are so grateful for their service, saving the lives of people like Benny every day.”
Benny’s mother Lydia McSweeney said the family is forever grateful to St John for saving Benny’s life, and is honoured to have an ambulance named after their son.
St John Territory Manager Ross Clarke said the ambulance has an improved interior design based on feedback from ambulance officers, allowing staff to remain seated while treating patients. The ambulance comes with a PowerLoad Stryker Stretcher making lifting and transporting patients easier, improving safety for patients and ambulance officers e.
“Donations like this are essential to St John meeting the growing demand on ambulance services as we constantly strive to improve the quality and equity of our services,” he said.
“As a charity, St John needs support from the community, and this generous donation from the Wright Family Foundation means both Katikati and the surrounding communities will have the best possible care available to them.”
As an Omokoroa ¯ resident, Chloe is concerned about the road between Tauranga and Katikati, backing calls for it to be widened to four lanes with a median barrier to curb its mounting death toll. In the last eight years, 24 people have died on this road.
“St John is quite literally the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, and unfortunately we need them even more due to the state of this road. Every time I see or hear an ambulance I call all my family members who live in the area to make sure they are okay,” she said. “St John does a wonderful job and we believe the service should be fully funded by the Government.”
The Wright Family Foundation is a registered charitable trust dedicated to making a positive difference by ‘growing the good’ in New Zealand communities by supporting education and health initiatives.
Wright Family Foundation chief executive Chloe Wright and board member Samuel Wright, with Benny McSweeney, 12 (centre), whose story inspired donation of an ambulance to St John Katikati.
St John Katikati ambulance officers with the new ambulance.
The personalised plate says it all — ‘to the rescue’.