St John WA launches campaign to recruit more Geraldton, Mid West volunteer ambulance officers

Staff reporterMidwest Times
St John WA volunteer ambulance officer and Geraldton local Ebony Verryt.
Camera IconSt John WA volunteer ambulance officer and Geraldton local Ebony Verryt. Credit: St John WA

Volunteers step up through a desire to help others and to enrich their own lives. But not every volunteering opportunity comes with the chance to help save lives.

But that’s the case for St John WA, with the emergency service provider launching its first Statewide recruitment campaign, called Looking for Legends, to help turn everyday West Australians into country ambulance volunteer officers.

The recruitment drive comes amid a 6.9 per cent spike over 2½ years in the number of cases that required ambulance attendance in volunteer-only country areas.

More than 400 people in the Mid West already volunteer for St John, and one of those is Geraldton resident Ebony Verryt, who said the decision to put her hand up despite her busy schedule had changed her life.

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“As a mum of two young boys my calendar quickly fills up with school and social commitments. However, I decided to make time for volunteering as I see it as a vital contribution to building a stronger and safer community for my family. For this reason, I choose to volunteer as a St John Ambulance officer and help change the lives of others for the better,” Ms Verryt said.

Following years as a volunteer ambulance officer, Ms Verryt recently upskilled to become an emergency medical technician.

“Volunteering offers countless benefits for those seeking to give back to our local Geraldton community. Not only has volunteering with St John WA been a rewarding experience but it’s also helped me learn important life skills and establish stronger friendships and social networks,” she said.

St John’s 160 locations in regional WA include 120 sub-centres that are fully volunteer-run. As well, there are more than 30 sub-centres where a mixture of volunteer ambulance officers and career and community paramedics work side-by-side.

Last year, St John Ambulance chief executive Michelle Fyfe told a parliamentary inquiry that many locations in WA would be left with no ambulance service without volunteers.

Justin Fonte, the head of country ambulance operations in WA, previously told the ABC that if every response location had five or six extra volunteers — equating to at least 800 additional volunteers — the pressure would be eased on existing volunteers.

For more information about becoming at St John Ambulance volunteer, visit stjohnwa.com.au/changelives/volunteer.

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