St John Ambulance’s emergency services volunteer wins top title

Frazer Shepherd, Zone Leader with Coffs Harbour St John Ambulance.

 

EMERGENCY services Zone Leader with Coffs Harbour St John Ambulance, Frazer Shepherd, from Urunga, has been named the 2021 Upper North Coast Volunteer of the Year.

“I started volunteering with St John Ambulance (NSW) in 2007,” Frazer told News Of The Area.

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“It’s a self-funding, charitable organisation, which is dedicated to helping people in sickness, distress, suffering or danger.

“They provided me with the necessary training, knowledge, and skills which gave me the opportunity to give back to the local community.

“It meets a desire to be part of something and maybe bigger than myself.

“I think it helps to take the focus off my everyday challenges and gives me a broader perspective on life.

“As for the community, without volunteers in our local area, many of the activities we take for granted would not be possible.

“I think the act of volunteering strengthens the cooperation amongst local people and helps break down barriers.”

For Frazer, his Black Summer Bushfire Experience started in late August 2019 with a formal request for the local St John Ambulance service to provide first aid and health services at the NSW Rural Fire Service Mobile Base Camp at Glen Innes.

“As the fire season unfolded these requests continued to come in regularly from our local area and further down towards Taree.

“I think the length and intensity of the Black Summer Bushfires and the scale of the fires was something I hope never to experience again.

“Many of us found ourselves helping locals who had lost everything.

“it was very confronting; I saw the need firsthand for a good Peer Support Program in an organisation.”

And then the region experienced the worst flooding in over 50 years.

“Seeing people evacuated from their homes and ending up in local clubs and community halls was very traumatic.

“Clearly there were a lot of negative mental health outcomes associated with this, which affects you as a volunteer.

“I think we are all still a bit shell-shocked with the loss of life, property and belongings that occurred during the catastrophic bushfires and floods.

“If there was a positive message from all of this; volunteering gave me a better understanding of resilience.

“The idea of the community spirit, where people work together to understand and manage these disasters.

Commenting on his award, Frazer said, “I view the award on behalf of the many local volunteers in St John Ambulance.

“I think it recognises all their efforts and I am proud to represent them.

“I highly recommend volunteering.

“If you want to develop new skills through training, give back to the community, set a good example for others or simply make the world a better place one action at a time, try volunteering.”

 

By Andrea FERRARI

 

Winning emergency services volunteer Frazer Shepherd highly recommends giving back to your community.

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