Danielle thrives on the challenge as a volunteer ambo

Daryna ZadvirnaAlbany Advertiser
St John Ambulance volunteer Danielle Branson.
Camera IconSt John Ambulance volunteer Danielle Branson. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Whether they are defending our homes in a fire, searching for lost loved ones or saving our lives, volunteers are the local heroes we lean on in times of crisis.

To keep the rest of us safe, our volunteer emergency services need fresh faces to bolster their ranks.

After a busy six months in the region, including several tragedies, we need them now more than ever.

In a month-long campaign, the Advertiser is paying tribute to the special yet ordinary people who step-up for their communities.

We encourage our readers to think about following their lead.

Ms Branson says she has always enjoyed volunteering.
Camera IconMs Branson says she has always enjoyed volunteering. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Nothing can prepare you for what you see and deal with in the ambulance service, St John Ambulance volunteer Danielle Branson says.

But according to the 29-year-old Albany woman, nothing is quite as rewarding as her role either.

“It all began when I did a first aid course and they mentioned volunteering for St John,” she said.

“I went home and spoke to my partner about it but I think the biggest push came from my mum, who said ‘oh, you’ll never last, Danielle’ and I was like ‘OK, mission accepted, Mum. I’m going to prove you wrong’.

“You always have doubts going into something like this but four years on, I’m still here and loving it.”

Ms Branson said she had been a volunteer for various organisations since a young age.

“I remember as a kid we always got to do stuff. Mum was always running us around for sport or whatnot,” she said.

“But in order for us to do that, it meant a lot of other people had to give up their time to make these things happen — and I grew up wanting to be that person.”

Every shift with the ambulance service provides Ms Branson with a sense of belonging and reassurance about her role.

“It can be something so little, that moment when you’re with a patient and the look on their face when they realise they’re not alone and you’ve calmed them down. It’s incredibly rewarding,” she said.

But it also presents challenges.

“Whether it’s that someone’s missing and you’re sitting there on standby or it could be a big car accident — every one of those situations presents something challenging that you have to deal with,” she said.

“And that can be accepting the situation as it is, or dealing with the aftermath.”

Ms Branson said anyone who wanted to make a difference and enjoyed a challenge should consider volunteering with St John.

“At one stage or another, I’m sure I’m going to need help and I would love to think that when that time comes there’ll be someone who can help me,” she said.

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