Local Harvey hero Arthur Hall recognised in volunteer week
St Anne’s Primary School students from the past 15 years probably remember chats with their treasured school gardener Arthur Hall.
He was the first friendly face they saw in the morning and the last one to wave them goodbye when the school bell sounded in the afternoon.
However, Mr Hall was not just the gardener, he also played a vital part in protecting the Harvey community and keeping people safe.
He worked around the clock and served with St John Ambulance in Harvey — something the 77-year-old still does today.
What started as a small promise to his wife has resulted in a dedicated and much appreciated 23 years of community service.
My wife Gail was encouraged to join St John Ambulance and she said to me ‘I will only join if you follow’ so I agreed to sign up to make her happy.
He had recently handed his beef and dairy farms to his sons and Mrs Hall was looking for something to keep her occupied.
Mr Hall recalled feeling overwhelmed on his first few call outs on the job.
“It was very confronting at first, I remember having to do a lot of training to get my head around it all,” he said.
But I could see the real good in it and I decided to stick it out.
He said he never knew what to expect, but knew he had to keep a level head and be confident in his choices when attending life-threatening emergencies.
“I was used to having confidence, I had to make decisions on the farm all the time so making decisions in emergencies came naturally to me,” he said.
Mr Hall bought the farm off his mother at the age of 19. His father was too young to serve in WWI and too old to serve in WWII so he settled in Harvey and worked at the Harvey Agricultural College.
However, his brother Eric served in the Vietnam War.
I always felt my brother went to war in my place.
“If my father was around today, I know he would be really proud of Eric.
Mr Hall described an increase in call outs at St John Ambulance in the past two decades.
“When I first started, there was a lot of patient transfers, however, now we see a lot of domestic violence and drug and alcohol related incidents.”
He said the rise in drug related incidents was becoming more and more prevalent in the South West.
“We work closely with the police and they are really helpful in those situations.”
He also commended the fantastic work of nurses and doctors.
Mr Hall said although he loved putting on his dark green uniform and saving lives, he was getting older and was glad to see some young blood rise through the ranks.
He said the recruitment campaign run by St John Ambulance in Harvey earlier this year attracted some promising candidates.
“We were delighted with the response, we actually got quite a few.
“It will be great to see them trained up after the COVID-19 restrictions ease.”
When Mr Hall is not at St John Ambulance or gardening at St Anne’s Primary School, he can most likely be found helping out at the Harvey Basketball Association or Harvey Bulls Football Club.
He loves country sports and never shies away from picking up a whistle or lending a hand.
Although, in weeks like this, where volunteers are celebrated and tossed into the spotlight for National Volunteer Week, Mr Hall said he preferred taking a back seat.
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