Minister for Volunteering Don Punch catches up with vollie legends

Press Release
  • Minister for Volunteering Don Punch and Cassie Rowe MLA, Member for Belmon toured the St John WA (SJWA) state office on Wednesday, August 16.
  • Both met with VOTY finalists, as well as Heritage volunteers.
  • They toured the Museum, Secondary Triage and State Operations Centre.

Ahead of St John WA’s Experience conference, Minister for Volunteering Don Punch and Cassie Rowe MLA, Member for Belmont, took time out on Wednesday to meet SJWA volunteers, including Volunteer of the Year finalists.

Finalists for Volunteer of the Year in Country Operations:

  • Jay Hammond, Wyalkatchem & Koorda
  • Jonathon Massey, Northcliffe
  • Machaela Higgins, Toodyay

Finalists for Volunteer of the Year in Metro Operations:

  • Alex Gibson, EHS Morley
  • Niki Gibson, EHS Morley
  • Don Atkins, Youth & Community

Sub Centre of the Year finalists:

  • Northam – Wheatbelt
  • Kent – Great Southern
  • Karratha – North West

The Minister and Ms Rowe toured the Belmont state office and were able to learn about the history of SJWA, which was founded by volunteers.

They also heard about the organisation’s latest innovations in handling Triple Zero (000) calls and patient care, particularly with the implementation of the Secondary Triage Team, as well as country operations and greater inclusion of Edith Cowan University students.

SJWA’s Country Ambulance has upwards of 4000 volunteers supporting the service, which covers the biggest footprint of any single ambulance service in the world — 2.5 million square kilometres or 33 per cent of the Australian landmass.

St John has 160 locations across regional Western Australia, which includes 140 volunteer response locations and 20 sub centres with a mix of volunteer ambulance officers and career paramedics who work side-by-side.

Ms Rowe particularly noted her awe of volunteer ambulance officer Machaela Higgins, who was also a registered nurse and mother of four.

Minister Punch also met SJWA Heritage volunteers Don Atkins, Sharon Teale, Dr Harry Oxer and Edith Khangure.

“You could spend hours in that museum. The keeping of all that history and preservation of St John’s legacy is so important,” the Minister said.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities and for many country areas, St John volunteers are vital in providing essential and emergency services and care.”

Both congratulated all the volunteers for their service to SJWA.

Volunteer here 

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