Garry always on call

St John Ambulance area manager Garry Mews.
St John Ambulance area manager Garry Mews.

‘Obviously you never want anyone to be in serious harm, but at the same time you’re looking to put your skills to good use,’ Mr Mews said.

‘The first thing people say to me is: ‘You must see some truly terrible things’, but honestly the trauma side is only about 20 per cent of the job.

‘Of course it’s very challenging ” every job has its difficult days ” but it is also a privilege. I can help people and make an impact in their lives without asking for anything in return. It gives me a tremendous sense of worth.’

Mr Mews said he worked as an ambulance officer and paramedic for many years before accepting the north-west metropolitan area manager role, which takes him ‘from Two Rocks to Perth and everywhere in between’.

‘In just one 30-minute drive to the hospital, you can have the most incredible conversations and make real connections with patients,’ he said.

The former optical technician said he had kids and a mortgage by the time he found his calling at St John Ambulance 15 years ago.

‘I did a few first-aid courses when I was younger and really enjoyed them, so when the applications came out I just went for it,’ he said.

When it came to coping with the more confronting jobs, Mr Mews said life experience was a major factor.

‘Some young people come in not having seen any trauma in their lives before, not even the loss of a grandparent, so it’s a huge commitment to take on,’ he said.

‘For me as a dad, the kiddie jobs are the worst. I once went out to a drowning and choking incident in one week ” only 13 and 18 months old.

‘We have chaplaincy and counselling services and two days mental health leave, but my greatest supports are my wife and kids. They’re my counsellors.’

Mr Mews said ambulance crews often went back to the hospital a few days later to see how their patients were doing.

‘At the end of the day, you get to help a family member cope with grief, patch someone up or even give a nanna a cuddle,’ he said.