It isn’t hard to see why paramedics are rated the number one most trusted profession in surveys.
Spend some time – preferably not in the back of an ambulance - with any of Eden’s past ‘ambos’ or current paramedics and the reasons are obvious.
These men (and women, although there are currently no female paramedics at Eden) are passionate about their work, professional in their patient, care, and love the community they serve.
Current station officer Steve Marks has been a paramedic for 28 years, and at Eden for 11 of those.
In a former life he was a mechanic and a correctional services worker, but he is passionate about working in Eden as a paramedic.
“I joined the Ambulance Service in 1986 in Bathurst,” he said.
“Then I went to Cowra for 14 years, and onto Queanbeyan for four years after that when there wasn’t much in Cowra for the kids.
“I got itchy feet again, I tried out for the job here and was lucky enough to get it.”
“It’s been 28 years now and I just love it.”
You have to admire an organisation that holds onto trained staff for that long.
One reason could be because it seems to value family, and staff can apply for jobs anywhere in NSW, to meet their time-of-life needs, and stay there if they choose to do so.
Eden’s youngest recruit, Yestyn Bawden, certainly has family on his mind just now.
“I came here 18 months ago from Lake Cargelligo with my wife and (now) three-year-old daughter.
“We’re expecting another baby in a few more weeks.
“I think it’s a lovely town, it’s really scenic and it’s got everything we need.
“We don’t have to leave town to do our shopping.
“It’s also close to the snow and I love skiing.
“We plan on staying here for maybe 10 years or even longer.”
While neither paramedic wants to dwell on days when they assist trauma patients, they are both upbeat about most of their jobs, the people they meet daily and the diverse work they do.
“I’ve met a lot of caring people since I’ve been down here,” Yestyn says.
“We do have a lot of elderly patients which you would expect in a town with an older population.
“Many of them are reluctant to call an ambulance thinking they aren’t that sick.
“Years ago, calling an ambulance meant going to hospital.
“These days, it doesn’t necessarily mean they get transferred to the hospital.
“We can treat some things and leave a patient at home or initiate a referral.
“Some of our older residents need to be aware that, if they can’t get to the doctor straight way, calling an ambulance and having a paramedic doing an assessment is an option for them.”
Steve Marks says there are days when he wishes he hadn’t gone to work, but these aren’t every day.
“You don’t see bad things every day.
“Every day you talk to nice people, people you take to hospital who are talking to you, we have a little laugh.
“You have your days when you wish you hadn’t gone to work because of the trauma and the sadness.
“We have enough of those days to put on two hands.
“They’re mainly road crashes and we certainly have our industrial accidents, but they’re not as often as road crashes.
“With the elderly living longer, we also have our share of heart attacks and other conditions.”
The Eden Ambulance Service covers a massive geographic footprint, that can see the paramedics covering call outs to Mallacoota, Genoa, Bombala, up to Bega and sometimes north of Bega.
Their work sees them at sea assisting injured sailors, in the bush finding lost and injured walkers, and sadly roadside at the site of major road crashes.
Wherever they are called to, if you are the one in need of their assistance, there is nothing sweeter than the sound of that siren getting closer.