Agnew brothers’ legendary journey with the Legend2Legend Program
In Wundowie, brothers Brendan and Jarrad Agnew are on a remarkable journey with St John WA’s Legend2Legend program.
Their commitment as first responders not only strengthens their brotherly bond, but also enriches their community.
Brendan is a paramedical science student at Edith Cowan University and a casual concrete labourer, while Jarrad works as an Emergency Services Officer at a local mine site.
They come from a close-knit family, still living at their family home in Glen Forrest.
“Before St John WA, I volunteered through university placements in emergency departments and aged care facilities.” Brendan said.
“I have a background in firefighting,” Jarrad said.
“I have volunteered for six years at the Glen Forrest Volunteer Bushfire Brigade in the Shire of Mundaring.”
Brendan was inspired to join St John WA to gain practical experience alongside his studies.
“I wanted to gain additional knowledge and experience real-life patients to assist in my development throughout my paramedic studies,” he said.
“Volunteering has allowed me to put the knowledge that I have obtained at university into real situations.”
Jarrad saw it as an opportunity to expand his medical knowledge and apply it to his work.
“My inspiration to volunteer with St John WA was to maintain and expand on my medical knowledge and skills I learnt from my Certificate IV in Health Care and apply that to an emergency at work if required.” Jarrad said.
At St John WA, Brendan and Jarrad are Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Emergency Medical Assistant (EMA) respectively.
They provide emergency and non-emergency medical assistance to their community.
“A usual shift includes doing van and medication checks and booking onto shift through the State Operations Centre,” Brendan said.
“We can be called to any type of job, including interhospital transfers.”
“When not on call, Wundowie has a fantastic sub centre with a big TV and some great spots to study or get some work done,” Jarrad said.
Brendan joined the Wundowie Sub Centre in March 2022 and Jarrad followed suit in March 2023 after Brendan recommended him, recognising the opportunity for his brother to gain practical experience.
“Jarrad transitioned into the emergency services when he got a job on a mine site. He already had plenty of fire and rescue exposure; however, he wanted more experience with the medical side of things,” Brendan said.
“So, I suggested joining St John Wundowie was a great way to learn and practise skills he was learning through his work.”
The brothers have faced and overcome their fair share of challenges.
“From my background as a medical student, the biggest things I have learnt are non-clinical skills,” Brendan said.
“Learning about ambulance operations and becoming familiar with the organisation itself has been a good insight.”
For Jarrad, transitioning from firefighting required learning new procedures and skills.
“Here we are dealing with patients, but at bushfires we rarely deal with people face to face,” Jarrad said.
“So, I had to learn a lot of new procedures as well as improve my interpersonal skills.”
Their biggest reward has been the people they’ve met.
“The best thing about joining St John Wundowie has been the people I’ve met, from other volunteers to patients. I have learnt a lot from the jobs I have gone to,” Jarrad said.
Brendan echoes this, emphasising the sense of community and support they’ve found.
“Wundowie Sub Centre is a perfect place to get your volunteering journey started,” he said.
“The people here are great, all the way from our awesome Chairperson to our new Emergency Medical Responders.”
“For us, it isn’t too far from home, which is a bonus.”
Balancing their busy lives with volunteering is made easy by the flexibility of the St John WA volunteer program.
“I usually commit to one day shift or one-half night shift per week,” Brendan said.
“Volunteering is very flexible; you don’t have to commit to full shifts which is great for when I have work the next day.”
Their journey continues as they look forward to expanding their medical knowledge and enhancing patient care in remote work environments.
For those considering volunteering with St John WA, Brendan and Jarrad offer simple advice:
“Just go for it. Even if you come from a different background, you’ll receive the necessary training, and there’s a supportive community to guide you,” Brendan said.
“The recruitment and the onboarding process were extremely smooth, with clear communication from the Wundowie Sub Centre every step of the way,” Jarrad said.
Sharing shifts together has created an interesting dynamic between the two.
Their teamwork and brotherly connection have added depth to their volunteer experience.
“We have done a few shifts together now,” Brendan said.
“It is exciting getting to mentor my older brother and it has been great for both of us.”
The Agnew brothers exemplify the essence of St John WA’s Legend2Legend program, building a sense of community and camaraderie while making a meaningful impact on lives.
Legend2Legend is an internal referral program and is currently running for the next 12 months.
If you or someone you know is interested to volunteer, apply online via the changelives website.