Shining a light on Wingecarribee’s unseen and unsung heroes meet Kevin, NSW Ambulance angel of the second chance
Community is everything to Kevin, an Advanced Life Support Paramedic with NSW Ambulance.
It’s why he brought his young family to live in Wingecarribee Shire. He sees the passing smiles of many a local going about their business, differently to most of us, knowing he’s given them a second chance at life.
“My wife and I made the decision to relocate from Wollongong and raise our girls here in the Highlands because we loved the friendly, family atmosphere of the local community,” Kevin says. “We deeply value the friendships that have come around us since we first arrived here with a newborn, and the sense of togetherness that comes with village communities and playgroups.”
Kevin’s particular role requires a lot of extra training in preparation for all manner of emergency situations, and his specialised care has profoundly touched many local lives. “Just the other day someone stopped me in the street to introduce me to their teenage daughter, as the paramedic who’d been on the scene when she came into the world.”
His own daughters have both become nurses, no doubt inspired by the difference they’ve seen their Dad make in the lives of neighbours they know and love, over the years. Kevin himself had been an apprentice in a coal mine when he felt drawn to an ad for Paramedic training in the paper, back in 1987. “I’ve never looked back! After 34 years I still look forward to every day on the job,” he says.
Kevin has always had a heart for making a difference in his community, volunteering at his local surf club and Scout hall. “It does my soul good to make other peoples’ lives better,” he says. Lasting mateships have been made through the appreciation of people he’s assisted in crisis situations. “It’s an amazing feeling for me as well as the patient, to see them walk out of hospital fully recovered.
I can’t imagine a role more rewarding than helping someone get back to living their normal life.”
He’s seen community members at their worst, as well as at the best of times, like the birth of a child. “It’s a privilege to bring someone from my community through their darkest hour,” Kevin says. “I’ve had locals tell me they felt better the minute I arrived on the scene. Just seeing a familiar face can be so reassuring for someone in a life-threatening situation.”
Assuring not only the patient but their family is a bit part of the responsibility. “We often have the extended family to think about as well, helping them to understand what’s happening to someone they care about, or treating them for shock,” Kevin says. “We can be an outlet for them when they open up about whatever problems they’re struggling with at that point in their lives.” He considers the trust people place in Paramedics, allowing them into their personal lives and homes so that they can administer care, to be an honour.
“Taking part in the parade means a lot to first responders who are generally unseen, just going about making people safe in situations where the focus is on survival,” Kevin says. “It’s a marvelous thing Angels in our Town are doing to bring our community even closer together and I see it as important for fostering good relations between the various rescue squads too. Like the SES and RFS who provide the Paramedics with protection at the scene of serious accidents or emergencies.”
Locally there are currently around 25 Paramedic staff at Bowral, with a lot of ground to cover. “I now have two colleagues who went to school with my kids and it’s great to see new recruits coming back to give back to a community they feel so connected to,” Kevin says.
Kevin hopes to see the dedicated nursing staff from our region’s hospitals come out in force this year, “Because they do such an incredible job to move people through in conditions where they often bear the brunt of the frustrations of people in distress. It can be a thankless job, day-to-day.” He also highly values Community First Responders across our Shire. “These guys save lives by volunteering their time for their local community. We train them in the first aid skills they need to respond to patients in outlying villages until we can arrive at the scene,” Kevin explains. “For a while there, the team at Bundanoon were the busiest in the state, called out to as many as 30 incidents a month!”
That’s a lot of local lives placed in the hands of the often unseen Angels in our Town.
Angels in Our Town
(the Southern Highlands says THANKYOU! to our unsung heroes)
Saturday 2 December 2023
7:00pm Parade to set off from the corner of Banyette St, along Bong Bong St to Corbett Gardens.
7:30pm Free family Concert in Corbett Gardens.Pack a picnic to enjoy in the gardens.
Many local eateries will be open for food and drink.
Plan your visit: www.angelsinourtown.org.au
Media Contact: Tina Irving e: Tina@solitaireconsulting.com.au m: 0403487179