Recognition for unsung heroes of our community

October 31, 2017

From left to right: Les Parkinson, Ron McTaggart, Don Pickens, Gail Parkinson

THEY’RE there in sickness and suffering, distress and danger.

With first aid training, disaster relief and community care just a handful of their services, St John Ambulance volunteers are some of the unsung heroes keeping our community safe.

And now four members from our district have been recognised for their faithful service.

Hailing from the Campaspe Division, Ron McTaggart from Colbinabbin, Don Pickens from Rochester and Les Parkinson and daughter Gail Parkinson from Kyabram have received awards for their volunteer service to the Order of St John.

The group boasts a staggering 138 years of service between them, with Les Parkinson topping the list at 52 years.

Although he’s pretty sure he’s done more.

‘‘I’ve been volunteering for 60 years, but unfortunately some of my records went missing so I can’t verify that,’’ he said.

‘‘I still remember the day I started, clear as day. It was the opening day of the Melbourne Olympics. You can’t forget that one.’’

And while Gail Parkinson said she has had some confronting experiences in her 17 years as a volunteer, she wouldn’t change a thing.

‘‘I know I’m helping the community and that’s what really matters,’’ she said.

Don Pickens completed 32 years and Ron McTaggart completed 37 years.

Members and guests were welcomed to Government House by Governor Linda Dessau for the presentation of awards on behalf of St John Ambulance and Queen Elizabeth II.

The governor commended the volunteers on the role they played in the community and the peace of mind that flows from knowing they are present.

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