FROM delivering a baby on the freeway to helping Bali bombing victims, St John Ambulance Joondalup Station Manager Terry Ward has done it all.
The Kingsley resident, who has worked at St John Ambulance for more than three decades, has been recognised with the Ambulance Service Medal.
Mr Ward was just as shocked to be awarded the Australia Day honour as when he was hit by the Perth heat in 1983 after getting off the plane from the West Midlands in England where snow falls up to about three metres.
The grandfather-of-one moved to Australia to work at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands as an intensive care nurse before joining St John Ambulance in 1984 as an ambulance officer.
Mr Ward said although the career move was a risk, he hadn’t looked back and since then had moved up throughout the organisation into training and management roles, having been promoted to station manager in 1990.
Since then, Mr Ward said the organisation had experienced several changes including hiring an “influx of people from overseas” who had brought with them new innovative skills and ideas which led to improved policies and processes.
“We have now been given a lot of resources to improve pre-hospital care for patients and the ability to stabilise people so it doesn’t become an emergency going back to hospital,” he said.
“The ambulance service is now going towards paramedic registration which will be a big leap forward in their professionalism and is great to be alongside with nurses, doctors, physiotherapists and other health care professionals.”
Still registered as a nurse himself, Mr Ward said to become an ambulance officer had now become a degree course which used to be a diploma when he first joined.
His passion for education and development of new officers led Mr Ward to become a training officer throughout the 1990s at the St John Ambulance Training College.
Working so closely with young graduates and fellow officers, Mr Ward said they were his “second family” who supported each other, especially after seeing some “terrible” things.
“We see some very terrible things that are distressing but we equally see some amazing things as well,” he said.
“For a lot of us it’s about knowing you can make a difference to somebody’s life which makes it all worth it.
“To us, it’s a job but a very important job.”
Looking back on his career so far, Mr Ward said one of his favourite stories was when he helped deliver a baby on the Mitchell Freeway.
“The mother didn’t have a name for the little boy and I was there pushing my name badge forward saying ‘Terry’s quite a nice name’ but she ended up calling him Mitchell,” he said.
Another story that stood out in Mr Ward’s mind was when he was “privileged” to lead the evacuation and repatriation of 20 victims of the Bali bombing, some of which were known to his family.