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St John Harvey celebrates end of an era as town’s services transition to hybrid paramedic model

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
New St John Harvey station manager Suleen van der Westhuizen, immediate past chairman Paul Beech and past secretary Jennifer Maughan cut the cake celebrating the transition to a hybrid paramedic model in the town.
Camera IconNew St John Harvey station manager Suleen van der Westhuizen, immediate past chairman Paul Beech and past secretary Jennifer Maughan cut the cake celebrating the transition to a hybrid paramedic model in the town. Credit: St John WA

St John WA marked the end of an era earlier this month as Harvey transitioned to a hybrid ambulance service.

There was a mixture of new and familiar faces at the Harvey Recreation and Cultural Centre on October 14 as 88 years of a fully volunteer-run ambulance service in town ended.

Active volunteer ambulance officers were recognised for their service to the community during the night, alongside life members and members of the Order of the Harvey sub-centre.

There was a cutting of the cake representing the past, present and future of ambulance services in Harvey, with the honours being given to Harvey station manager Suleen van der Westhuizen, immediate past chairman Paul Beech and past secretary Jennifer Maughan.

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Closing the night, Mr Beech said the fully volunteer-run service had “left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds” of those in the community.

“For nearly nine decades, St John Ambulance has been a beacon of hope, a pillar of support, and a symbol of unwavering dedication to the wellbeing of our community,” he said.

“We’ve witnessed generations of volunteers selflessly offer their time, skills, and compassion to provide assistance during times of crisis, lend a helping hand in times of need, and bring comfort to those seeking solace.”

Mr Beech noted countless lives had been touched by the service over its 88 years of operation in Harvey.

“The spirit of community service, empathy, and the importance of lending a helping hand in times of crisis are lessons that transcend time and circumstances,” he said.

A number of changes have been made to St John WA’s operations in Harvey as a result of the transition, with the Harvey sub-centre now considered a depot and a new station leadership team replacing the previous management committee.

Operations will now be led by Ms van der Westhuizen, with her partner Cornelus van der Westhuizen also joining the Harvey team as a paid paramedic.

St John first started its operations in Harvey in 1935, with the first ambulance being a Ford V8 panel van purchase at a cost of 360 pounds ($720).

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