20,000 hours well spent

FROM being deep in mud one day to meeting Prince Charles the next, volunteering with St John Ambulance has played a defining role in Pam Heiermann’s life.

Growing up with parents who were active participants with the Salvation Army, the 52-year-old Berriedale local has grown up with a firm belief in the benefits of giving back to the community.

“The first 24-years of my life were all about volunteering, but there came a time when I decided to take a break, find a job, get married and raise my children,” Pam said.

But volunteering would soon make a return to Pam’s life when one day while working at a bakery, she was confronted with one of her colleagues suffering from horrific third-degree burns from an accident involving burning water.

“That wasn’t the only accident that occurred while I was working at that bakery and even though I had a first aid certificate at the time, I soon felt that I needed to know a lot more,” she admitted.

“I mentioned to someone that I was thinking of volunteering for Ambulance Tasmania and they soon pointed me in the direction of St John Ambulance.

“I jumped at the opportunity to further my first aid training and get back into volunteering – I haven’t looked back since.”

Since joining the organisation 10-years ago, as well as Ambulance Tasmania a year later, Pam has contributed in excess of 20,000 hours of service.

As part of her role running the St John Ambulance Hobart division, which includes 45 adult members, 12 ambulances and more than half the state’s duty, Pam is in charge of organising and running major events such as the Falls Festival and Point to Pinnacle.

Although primarily working out in the field, she is also tasked with coordinating the training all of St John Ambulance’s members.

“Sometimes I’m just in awe of where being a St John Ambulance volunteer takes me,” Pam said.

“There is a lot of satisfaction from being involved in a big event and seeing it run really well, especially when you are working as the manager or commander.

“As part of the role, we obviously get exposed to some quite badly injured people, but it is always so rewarding to see them again and check on their recovery.”

In recognition of her hard work and dedication, Pam has received a number of accolades for her decade of service.

This includes the 2017 St John Ambulance Silver Commendation – the highest state award – admittance into the Order of St John and becoming a finalist for the 2016 Volunteering Tasmania emergency services award.

Pam said she was “truly humbled” to have received so much recognition.

“It’s not what I do it for,” she said. “I get the biggest thrill from seeing a new member go into uniform or having a big event run perfectly – you just can’t put a price on that.

“But being recognised to me is recognition for my whole division and saying that we have done a fantastic job. I am just the one lucky enough to receive the award.”

Pam said her entire experience at St John Ambulance had been “fantastic.”

“We’ve had so much fun and my life is already planned out for the next six months – I get to go to so many events and interact with the public, which is just wonderful,” she said.

“Volunteering is a great way to meet people and I can guarantee that you will get as much benefit from giving to the community, as what the community will get from you.

“It’s really good fun and there are so many worthwhile organisations in need of volunteers, so just find one that you enjoy and join it.

“I don’t know where volunteering will take me from here, but St John Ambulance will always be a part of my life.”

Caption: Berriedale resident Pam Heiermann has spent in excess of 20,000 volunteering for St John Ambulance and Ambulance Tasmania.