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Know An Every Day Hero? Nominate a Champion In These Awards

The First Aid Champion Awards is a yearly celebration of Victorians who have made an impact on someone's life using First Aid.

Consisting of 6 categories, the First Aid Champion Awards recognises that First Aid is a vital skill to have - irrespective of age, gender, background or health status – allowing for recognition across all aspects of society. In October 2022, we honoured 11 individuals who demonstrated incredible courage in helping others using First Aid.

Junior (Under 12)

By attending just a 45-minute First Aid course, such as St John Victoria’s First Aid in Schools program, children can improve their confidence in First Aid by 111% and doubling their knowledge and skills in first aid. These young heroes show that First Aid knowledge is an important skill to have, no matter your age.

Emilie Hook

One early morning in May 2021, Amy Gamble (Emilie’s mother and St John volunteer) woke to find her 3-year-old daughter Ella blue and unresponsive. Her shocked screams woke 5-year-old Emilie up, who jumped right into the DRSABCD action plan to help Mum gather Ella’s asthma supplies. Emilie then used Mum’s phone to dial 000 while Mum performed CPR on Ella. As her little sister regained consciousness, Emilie helped roll her into the recovery position and counted out loud using the 4x4x4 method as Mum administered Ella’s Ventolin inhaler.

Once Ella became more stable, Emilie prepared for the paramedics’ arrival by turning on the porch light and waiting at the front door. She then showed the paramedics into the house and even offered to help carry their response bags! Emilie, now 6, dreams of becoming a paramedic when she grows up.

Aisha Abdi

Mum Jaime Clarke was enjoying her first getaway since the pandemic when she received an emergency call from her 8-year-old daughter, Aisha. She had been staying at her grandparents’ when her Poppy fell off the front porch steps. Aisha remained calm, listening to Mum’s instructions over the phone – she even added her own touch, getting a cushion to help Poppy feel more comfortable, as well as water and Panadol, while help was on its way.

Despite being terrified for her Poppy, Aisha was able to put those feelings aside to be brave and strong, demonstrating maturity beyond her years. Turns out, Aisha’s Poppy had broken his hip and required two surgeries, including a spinal surgery, to help him walk again. It was thanks to Aisha’s courage that her Poppy managed to get the help he needed in time.

Youth (13-17)

This category recognises young individuals aged between 13-17 who have helped others in a First Aid emergency situation.

Lachie Shepherd

17-year-old Lachie was working a shift at a retail store when a customer collapsed from an overdose of prescribed medicines. A team member who was first at the scene notified their manager, Bob, who began to administer First Aid. When Lachie saw what had happened, he rushed to help.

“Lachie didn’t hesitate for a second to come assist me with the patient who was on the floor unconscious. He was direct, had clear instructions, and acted like a professional when helping the patient. His immediate response is truly outstanding,” said Bob.


For every minute that passes without defibrillation, the chance of survival reduces by 10%, which is why bystander CPR and defibrillation is extremely crucial. It can increase survival rates of a sudden cardiac arrest from 5% to over 70%.

Matt Cash

Matt was out with his trail running group in October 2021 when his good friend and fellow runner, Dave, was found unconscious. Matt, who had just attended a St John refresher course two weeks prior, sprang into action to perform CPR. 10 minutes in, with Dave still unresponsive, another bystander who also knew CPR took over from Matt. As Matt walked aside to catch his breath, worried and exhausted, he spotted an electricity distribution truck driving by. Thinking that there was likely a defibrillator in the vehicle, Matt ran onto the road to flag down the truck. Sure enough, there was one, and Matt quickly got to work with the defibrillator.

When paramedics arrived, they took over and continued working on Dave. He eventually regained consciousness after having no pulse for nearly 45 minutes. It was thanks to Matt’s quick thinking that saved Dave’s life, allowing paramedics to bring him back to consciousness.

Steph Fisher

It was an ordinary day at home when suddenly, Steph heard unusual noises coming from her Dad Glenn’s bedroom. When she rushed to check, she found him unresponsive and not breathing. The 21-year-old immediately called Triple Zero and calmly followed the instructions to perform CPR for 6 minutes until paramedics arrived.

Glenn was on a ventilator for 9 days before regaining consciousness. Steph’s courageous efforts helped her dad beat the odds of surviving a cardiac arrest at home. Her bravery during such a traumatic time saved Glenn’s life and, after 6 weeks in rehabilitation, he was able to return to daily life with his family.


While 77% of Australians have witnessed a First Aid incident, only 1 in 8 knew exactly what to do. This is an alarming figure, especially when emergencies can happen just anywhere, at any time. These extraordinary individuals show us why more people should be trained in First Aid.

Kathy Johnson

When Kathy was out at a restaurant with her husband, they noticed a man unwell. She quickly took action as the man, who was dining alone, fell unconscious. Nobody at the scene knew First Aid – so Kathy gave clear and precise instructions, directing bystanders to help. Unfortunately, the man had just been discharged from hospital with possible underlying conditions and was unable to be revived.

Despite the outcome, Kathy’s quick thinking and ability to stay calm under pressure reflects her selflessness in doing her best to preserve a life. Her compassion and attentiveness are owed to her 17 years of experience in a special needs school, coupled with her dedication to regular CPR training.

Rob McEwan

Rob was out on work duty when he chanced upon a postman who had been hit by a car and was lying in the middle of the road, with other cars simply driving by.

He recalled his own experience in an accident a few years ago when he broke his neck and was ignored by a passerby as he laid on the ground, injured and in distress. Not wanting the postman to feel the same panic he felt in that moment, Rob stopped to help.

Having just completed his refresher training with St John a few months earlier, Rob immediately commenced the DRSABCD action plan. He stayed with the postman, making sure he was stable before being taken away in an ambulance.


Research shows that nearly half of Australian workers are scared that if something happened to them at work, nobody around them would know how to respond. Thankfully, these champions knew exactly what to do.

Danon Osmanovic

Two weeks after attending a St John training course, Danon was called up by his teammate during a nightshift – one of his colleagues had experienced a cardiac arrest and was unresponsive.

Danon leapt into action, performing CPR, and shocking the patient with a defibrillator. The colleague showed some response but lapsed back into unconsciousness 3 times. Each time, Danon was unwavering in his compressions and shocks. Eventually, the teammate started breathing and was coughing up blood. Danon put him in the recovery position and scooped out the blood to clear the patient’s airway.

Danon’s courageous and unrelenting efforts helped his colleague regain consciousness. Through his inspiring bravery, he put aside any fear and apprehension, taking the right actions to save a life.

Gerry Polites

As the designated First Aider on a construction site, Gerry was informed of a worker that had a sore shoulder. Gerry was able to identify that this was more serious than it seemed to be and knew he needed to act fast. He transported his colleague to the First Aid room, and as they arrived, the man went pale and cold.

Thanks to his quick thinking, Gerry was ready with a defibrillator on hand and began performing CPR and shocking the worker. He was able to revive the man, saving his work mate’s life. The patient is now back at work, as a result of Gerry’s quick actions and lifesaving skills. Gerry’s actions also inspired his daughter, Victoria, who is now a St John Youth member.

St John Volunteers

Last but not least, we are incredibly proud of our volunteers who so selflessly dedicate their time to helping the community.

Michelle Jalocha

Michelle is a volunteer with the Barwon division, as well as a nurse, specialising in drug, alcohol, and mental health. When she saw that a patron, Jessica, wasn’t looking too well and was becoming disoriented, she acted quickly to provide reassurance and support. Michelle guided Jessica in breathing and distraction techniques, and motivational interviewing to curb her anxiety attacks.

“Michelle gave me a lot of information about what was happening. She put me at ease and just her presence was very calming. She did change my life – I think about her quite a bit,” said Jessica.

Jacqueline Rusnak

As a new St John volunteer, Jacqueline had never encountered an emergency – until this. An individual had been found seizing on the ground. Jacqueline calmly assessed the situation and asked for an ambulance to be called while she monitored the patient in the recovery position.

Jacqueline saw to stabilising the patient’s symptoms before they were transferred to the ambulance. Displaying great composure and calmness, she was able to update the paramedics on arrival and even minimised traffic around the area. She showed compassion to the patients and bystanders around her, handling the situation with commendable professionalism.

Entries for the 2023 First Aid Champion Awards are now being accepted

Nominate yourself or someone you know here.


A unique opportunity for Victorians to honour those who have made a real impact to people’s lives, whether as unsung heroes, colleagues, classmates, friends or family members.

St John first aid training - socially distanced


Suitable for both people in workplaces and members of the public who would like a comprehensive first aid course.

St John Bitesized eLearning course


This bitesize online course will teach you about each step of the Action Plan and how to apply it to a range of First Aid situations.