DEDICATION HONOURED: North Burnett recipients of QAS Awards at Bundaberg include back row, Russell Kemp, Natalie Formica and Keith Wrench (all of Gayndah) and at front Biggenden's John O'Brien and Kae Dunne.
DEDICATION HONOURED: North Burnett recipients of QAS Awards at Bundaberg include back row, Russell Kemp, Natalie Formica and Keith Wrench (all of Gayndah) and at front Biggenden's John O'Brien and Kae Dunne. Contributed

Years of hard work recognised

AMBULANCE officers and Local Ambulance Committee members from Gayndah and Biggenden have been recognised for their years of service.

At the Bundaberg ceremony, Chief Superintendent Russell Cooke said the awards were an opportunity to acknowledge those officers who had performed diligently over an extended period of time.

"The service can be proud of each of these milestones and the vital work of the Local Ambulance Committees that put in countless hours to ensure our officers and community are well supported,” Mr Cooke said.

"Our staff repeatedly go beyond the call of duty, show bravery and composure in challenging situations and save lives without expecting acknowledgement or praise.”

Biggenden Local Ambulance Committee members Kae Dunne (secretary) and John O'Brien were recognised for their five years of volunteering.

Mrs Dunne said several achievements during their time of service were the purchases of more equipment for the station.

"The LAC wasn't about fundraising,” she said.

"We are here to support our officers and to help educate the public especially with CPR.”

Mr O'Brien said the highlight of the year was the mock rescue with all the emergency services involved.

"The PCYC cadets did a brilliant job as well,” he said.

Mr O'Brien said it was nice QAS acknowledged its volunteers.

Gayndah paramedic Keith Wrench was also recognised for his 35 years of service.

Mr Wrench began his career at age 19 as a volunteer followed by 33 years as an officer, 22 of those at the Gayndah Station.

Mr Wrench said there had been many changes during those years.

"All for the best,” he added.

"There has been an improvement in patient care so the survival rate is a lot better than 30 years ago.

"It is a satisfying and rewarding career.”

Fellow officer Natalie Formica's career has spanned 10 years between stations at Bundaberg and Gayndah

Ms Formica said she loved her job.

"It's the best job,” she said.

"I love being a country paramedic as you get to help people you know.”

Ms Formica said during the past 10 years, the job had become busier.

"This is no doubt due to a a lot more medications up our sleeves,” she said.

Honorary Gayndah ambulance officer Russell Kemp has notched up 20 years.

Mr Kemp said it was actually 22 years of service but they finally cornered him to attend the awards ceremony.

"The level of skill and what you do on the road as well as treating patients in the homes before transporting to hospital has grown dramatically over the years,” he said.

Being an honorary officer, Mr Kemp is on call at night, weekends and during school holidays.

Most Saturdays he can be found in any of the North Burnett towns conducting first aid classes.

All three agreed it was nice that they were there together to receive their awards on the same day.

"I'm sure it is never going to happen again,” Ms Formica said.


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