St. John Ambulance awards stalwart volunteers

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By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – Stopping to help car crash victims on a busy highway is a heroic feat that few could accomplish.

Laurie-Anne Bartlett, St. John Ambulance first aid instructor.

But for Laurie-Anne Bartlett, a St. John Ambulance first aid instructor, keeping people safe is more than a career.

Along with her St. John colleagues, Bartlett was recently recognized for keeping the well-being of others a top priority on and off duty.

Over 20 awards were handed out to staff and two volunteer groups for holding the line when a life is resting on it.

Simultaneously, tribute was paid to the instructors who maintain the high standards of first aid training for which St. John is now famous.

"Last fall driving home from work I chose to take action at an accident scene on the 401," said Bartlett. "My training and experience helped me provide adequate first aid to keep the casualties in a conscious and stable condition until paramedics took over."

For her efforts as an instructor and first responder she received an Exceptional Merit Certificate of Appreciation.

After freely donating thousands of hours to Cornwall and the United Counties, it was time for the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog and Medical First Responder Divisions to also take a much deserved bow.

One of the most coveted St. John accolades, the St. John Ambulance Council for Ontario Life Saving Award, was presented to a Cornwall member for the first time in over ten years.

Recipient Rhéal Paul, St. John instructor/trainer, was more than excited to be given such an honour. He recalled his humble beginnings as a volunteer and the courageous act that led to receiving two awards.

"I got the 2500 hours award for the time I spent on volunteer duties and the rare life-saving award for trying to revive a patient," he said.

It all started when Paul took a St. John first aid course through Walmart. His passion for keeping people out of harm's way pushed him to volunteer with St. John in 2001. Now he's a certified training instructor teaching classrooms how to save a life.

"We are seen in the public, but unfortunately people don't realize that we volunteer our time and train hard to help not just people at events but help save time, so emergency personnel could get injured or ill patients to the hospital faster," said Paul.

After years of coming to the rescue, he understands how precious time is during an emergency.

And so do the other recent St. John certificate and award recipients. Christine Paquette was given The Community Service Years Milestone Award Medal for a dozen years of exemplary service. Other recipients will also be covered in upcoming features special to TC Media/Cornwall Seaway News.

For St. John board chair Michele Brunette, 2014 is a pivotal year for their continued success in keeping Cornwall and SD & G safe at events.

Upcoming fundraising events, such as the second annual bowl-a-thon and an electronic recycling day in the fall, keep the lifeblood of this organization pumping.

"Since St. John Ambulance is a charitable organization, our Therapy Dog teams and our Medical First Responders are not compensated monetarily for their dedicated service," said Brunette. "All services are rendered to anyone in need on a donation basis only. This is the major reason we wish to honour our volunteers."

All donations made to the Cornwall St. John branch go towards vital first aid supplies, equipment, volunteer uniforms, and maintaining two Mobile First Aid Posts (ambulance type vehicles).

"It is our hope that, through community support, St. John Ambulance will continue its vital role here," she said.

For more information, visit http://www.sjacornwall.ca/.

Organizations: Walmart, TC Media/Cornwall Seaway News

Geographic location: Cornwall

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