Volunteer News                                               Friday June 11th 2010

Saving lives at home, work & play


St.John Ambulance Seeks Fresh Blood

"For the benefit of mankind"

Craig Hill/Voice 


n Saturday June 19, the Chilliwack arm of the St. John Ambulance     Long-time volunteer Jim Aitken, at Cultus.

service is having an Open

House at their Hocking and Young station. The purpose of the event is to give the public a chance to see what they're all about, and hopefully, to sign up more volunteers.


Go to any event and you'll see the volunteers tucked away to the side. Always on duty and always ready to assist in a medical emergency. They are a must-have for any community event.


St. John Ambulance is always willing to help but that willingness to set up mobile medical posts at events is quite often dampened, not by lack of enthusiasm, but by a lack of bodies, so to speak.                   



                                   Officer-in-Charge, Russell Newcombe at Cultus Lk.

The ubiquitous organization tries to be at most events but can't be at all because they don't have the manpower and always seem to be spread far too thin. Currently, there are only eleven active members volunteering to serve a population of about 80,000 people so they are always looking for volunteers. The more volunteers there are, the easier it is on the group and the more events they can attend.


The volunteers would like to have a life too but many find themselves devoting all of their spare time just to make up for any shortfalls in manpower.


The organization, with the help of Chilliwack Bingo, recently added a new pickup truck to their fleet but according to Officer-in-Charge, Russell Newcombe, this year its still a mystery as to what kind of funding they will be getting and when.


Newcombe, a Pitt Meadows resident, originally joined the organization in 2001 and has been volunteering with the Chilliwack branch for the last two-years.


Usually in April they get their funding so they're able to lay out their wish

Mobile First Aid Post at Cultus Lake event.


list and plan ahead, but this year its late and Newcombe says they are a bit under the gun.


"We got some gaming money for the new truck, a donation from Chilliwack Bingo, but the economy has gone down, so things are sort of up in the air," said Newcombe. "We already have our list up so we know, so we know what we want, but until we know how much actual dollars we're going we don't know what's going to happen."


"Essentially, for these events, are donations. So we come here and maybe they make a donation to our organization, that helps pay for the equipment, that helps pay for the upkeep of our mobile post, if there is any training, that all goes to do that," said Newcombe.


Recently, St. John Ambulance attends has been attending the stock cars races at Agassiz. They used to do more. "The more members we can get, the more duties we can do," Newcombe. "So some of us work weekends, some of us during the day and we have some weekends free so it's kind of a juggling thing."


The group meets once a week to recruit and train them. When joining, volunteers need to be armed with a standard First Aid Certificate and they'll also need to know CPRC. Their summer meetings are twice a month in July and August.


Jim Aitken usually volunteers on weekends and is into his eleventh-year working as a volunteer. He is one of those guys who gives so much of his time and asks for nothing in return.


"I usually volunteer weekends, a little less now than I used to," said Aitken.


If you're interested in becoming a volunteer, call or visit them at:  #202 - 45928 Hocking Avenue 604-792-1338


Meetings take place Wednesday nights from 7 pm to 9 pm.


For more information on how to become a volunteer with St. John Ambulance visit their website: www.bc.sjatraining.ca

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