The pride of St John WA: four Ambulance Service Medals awarded to team members

Press Release

Four of St John WA’s finest team members have been honoured with an Ambulance Service Medal as part of 2024’s Australia Day honours.

The dedication of these leaders is testament to the values of St John WA, with the organisation proud of the outstanding work done by each recipient.

Melissa Gardiner

Melissa Gardiner joined St John WA 21 years ago and is both a paramedic and a midwife.

This unique skill set has enabled her to provide a much respected and valued addition to frontline capabilities throughout the metropolitan and regional communities within which she has worked during her career to date.

Melissa developed the Australian-first initiative called the State Obstetrics Referral Call (STORC).

This provides a 24-hour helpline service, staffed by a team of experienced midwives who provide real-time expertise, support, and guidance to frontline crews managing complex and challenging obstetric cases.

Melissa’s expertise and passion in this field have been celebrated widely within St John, and she is currently working with critical care paramedics to establish a training framework to upskill them with advanced knowledge and interventions in this area.

Melissa’s commitment to the fields of paramedicine and midwifery have enabled her to establish herself as a unique and invaluable member of the St John WA team.

She truly is an inspiration to her colleagues and peers, and recognition of this demonstration of commitment to clinical excellence and innovation deserves celebrating at the highest level.

John Backo

John Backo has worked as a frontline paramedic for 13 years and has demonstrated a solid commitment to serving the community.

He joined Patient Transport Service as a transport officer and was soon promoted to team leader.

This is a leadership role in which he has performed admirably for the past five years while maintaining his training and operational capacity.

While serving as a team leader he has shown remarkable commitment, resilience, and support to the Department of Health WA, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

John has shown strong leadership and the ability to adapt to a volatile environment which was essential to transiting a team of 300+ personnel through a global pandemic.

John has been leading in all areas of patient transport, some of which are large projects that required him to build from the ground up.

Throughout his 19-year career with St John WA, John has taken on many roles in his commitment to serve his community.

He consistently strives to improve procedures with the aim to develop the overall performance of his team and has given outstanding service to St John WA.

Dane Hendry

Dane Hendry started with St John WA in 1997 and graduated as an ambulance paramedic in 2000.

In 2023 he commenced as a shift operations manager in the State Operations Centre (000) and is highly respected by his peers and is an inspirational leader.

Dane held the position of community paramedic in Margaret River.

During his time here he worked to enhance the strong and proud volunteer centres at Margaret River, Augusta, Dunsborough and Nannup.

While supporting the centres by providing training and recruitment strategies, he was also an extremely valuable first responder often arriving before an ambulance crew and leading with his vast amount of clinical knowledge and extensive leadership experience.

In December 2020 Dane attended two separate motor vehicle accidents in which he took control of each scene.

His efforts in these two events ensured the best medical attention could be provided to the five patients in a safe environment.

Dane has also ensured St John WA is represented at the end of school year graduation ‘Leavers’ events held in southwest WA, putting in more than a decade of coordination efforts to ensure young people attending the events can do so in a safe environment.

Paul Beech

Paul Beech has demonstrated exceptional dedication and commitment to St John WA and the Harvey Sub Centre over 27 years as a Volunteer Ambulance Officer.

He has consistently gone above and beyond to deliver safety to the WA community and advance St John WA services in his local community.

Throughout his extensive service, Paul has consistently displayed a high level of professionalism and selflessness that sets him apart.

As a key member of the Harvey team, he has contributed consistently and significantly to the betterment of the community and the wellbeing of countless individuals.

Paul provides extensive frontline service with 1000+ hours per year.

He plays a pivotal role in providing frontline services, is actively involved in mentoring recruits, was secretary of the Harvey Sub Centre for 15 continuous years and held a four-year term as chairperson.

Paul has consistently demonstrated exceptional professionalism and composure, even in the most challenging and high-pressure situations.

He has consistently shown compassion and empathy towards patients and their families, and his dedication to service is a testament to his good character and unwavering commitment to St John WA.

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