Major milestone for ‘accidental’ legend Keita
- Event Health Services volunteer Keita Morimoto has been recognised for clocking 1000 hours of volunteering every year for five years,
- His dedication is equivalent to a part-time role and spans EHS, First Aid Awareness and Country Ambulance,
- Keita “mistakenly” applied to join the St John team at 24, but seven years later, hasn’t looked back.
Morimoto’s journey with St John WA (SJWA) began by accident.
Originally from Japan, with English as his second language, and aged 24 at the time, he mistakenly thought the voluntary Event Health Services (EHS) role he applied for was a hospital-based customer service role.
Seven years later, Keita’s fortuitous application changed the course of his life having volunteered almost 9000 hours in an EHS lifesaving capacity. Along with attending major concert, sporting and cultural events, he has also engaged with community members as a First Aid Awareness (FAA) volunteer to promote the importance of learning first aid, particularly to children. Not stopping there, Keita has also progressed through the ranks of Country Volunteer Ambulance Officer, qualifying as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for the St John WA sub centre in Woodridge.
When he joined SJWA, Keita was living in Perth’s northern corridor, studying and working for an in-bound Japanese travel and tourism business. Despite being busy, he felt the need to “give back” to the community he found so welcoming when he arrived alone in Australia, five years prior.
Volunteering opened up a whole new world and a “family in green” for Keita.
“I enjoy meeting a variety of people from different backgrounds. It is always fun to listen to their stories and it keeps me motivated,” he said.
“Members in EHS are always willing to support new starters and there are plenty of opportunities to learn, make friends and gain new interests. I also get to enjoy events!”
Keita quickly realised his passion for health care and switched industries as well as studies (to a Diploma of Community Services), and began attending regular SJWA training to ensure his skills are maintained.
During the COVID pandemic, rather than dwelling on the many event cancellations, Keita saw a chance to focus on studying to improve his skills. “I also got an opportunity to be RASO [Rapid Ambulance Support Officer] to attend actual call-outs with Metro Ambulance which was definitely a good experience for me,” he said.
Keita has served more than 1000 duty hours each consecutive year for the past five years — by comparison, a normal 9-5 full-time job entails about 2000 hours of work per year.
Each year, he’s received recognition for this achievement yet he remains humble.
“The hours are a good measurement of my commitment, but to be honest I don’t think about them too much as long as I enjoy each shift,” he said. “I think it is an outcome for the number of enjoyable events that I participated in. Even I am surprised at the achievement of 1000 hours!”
St John WA Group CEO Kevin Brown, who also volunteers for EHS, has completed some shifts with Keita, and praised his outstanding attitude. “Well-liked by his peers, Keita’s enthusiasm is truly inspiring,” Mr Brown said. “He is always cheerful and helps to bring people together within the organisation with his friendly nature and much-loved magic tricks and sketches.”