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Matthew's Journey: From Outdoor Education to Regional Officer at St John Ambulance

Meet Matthew Girdler, a dedicated volunteer at St John Ambulance whose journey demonstrates the transformative power of community engagement and professional growth. Two years ago, Matthew embarked on his volunteer journey with St John, at the Ballarat Division. He was drawn to St John by the attraction of expanding his first aid skills and gaining hands-on experience in emergency care.

Before joining St John, Matthew's background was rooted in outdoor education, where he cultivated a passion for adventure and a commitment to safety. His university lecturers recognised St John as an invaluable platform for practicing first aid skills, making it a natural progression for Matthew as he pursued to enhance his capabilities in his field. “One of my lecturers at Uni told our group that joining St John was a good way to accumulate some experience and hands on knowledge with first aid to get more confident with it. It’s quite relevant for our industry and kind of work that we do there, so I signed up and joined St John and now I am here”.

Matthew's transition into St John was seamless, fueled by his eagerness to jump into diverse clinical settings and expand his network. He actively pursued opportunities to participate in events, embracing each encounter as a chance to learn and grow. Through his perseverance, Matthew accumulated a

wealth of experience, ranging from basic first aid interventions to complex emergency scenarios. “I basically went out getting as many events as possible, as many as I could fit in into my calendar, and I was just striving to seek experience and gain a wide variety of clinical presentations at different environments and places we go for events”.

What sets St John apart for Matthew is its capacity to go above traditional definitions of first aid. Beyond the application of bandages and simple medical procedures, St John has provided Matthew with a platform for further development. His proudest achievements, from taking on leadership roles at events to securing a regional officer position, highlight the organisation's values of empowerment and growth. “What I have found through St John is that it’s much more than first aid; much more than giving band aids to people. It’s all kinds of things, whether it's the clinical experience or meeting new people or just being inspired to pursue different pathways”.

Looking ahead, Matthew is committed to continuous learning and community service. As he now pursues further studies in paramedicine, he envisions a future where he can leverage his skills and experiences to make a meaningful difference in people's lives. His journey with St John is far from over; it is a lifelong pursuit of knowledge, friendship, and service.

Join us in celebrating Matthew's journey and the countless volunteers like him who embody the principles of St John Ambulance, enriching lives, and safeguarding communities one act of service at a time.