NSW Ambulance inspector Martin Cutler handed in his work mobile phone on Thursday after 41 years with the service.
The Goulburn paramedic started his career as an assistant mail boy on January, 4, 1978 and finished up on Friday as one of the inspectors in the Tablelands command responsible for Goulburn, Crookwell, Harden and Boorowa.
He had worked in the NSW Ambulance administration section for a short time in 1977 but decided to try his hand at other careers, none of which suited him.
Mr Cutler was not an academic; he had left school aged 14 and a half. He started out as an apprentice coach and wagon builder on the NSW Government Railways, tried to become a train driver and also undertook basic training with the Navy. However, he eventually set his sights on becoming an ambulance officer.
This prompted his move to Goulburn with his wife Dorothy and their first daughter. The move was a promotion within the administrative section of the ambulance service.
“It was also easier to get a start training as an ambulance officer from a country area,” Mr Cutler said.
“It was still a long road to get into uniform, including a six-week intensive basic training course back in Sydney, then 12 months intensive training on the road before more exams. It took me nine years to realise the dream, with the help and support of my wife.
“We had settled into Goulburn really quickly and our second child was born here.
“Ambulance work was very different back then to what it is now but every year we have to undertake study and skills training and the study and learning is constant.
“I achieved my advanced life support officer status in the early 90s, now students straight out of university are joining us with the equivalent qualifications.
“It is amazing how high tech the job is now, with GPS tracking and incredible monitoring and equipment and an large drug regime. We have the latest European cars equipped to provide a much higher level of patient care.
“NSW Ambulance also supports the officers to a higher degree than in the past, recognising the trauma they encounter on a daily basis.
“The cornerstone for me has been my family and they have made tremendous sacrifices because of my career. They have foregone normal Christmases and other occasions, put up with not knowing when I would be home and bearing the stress after I have had a particularly bad day. Family support is a massive part of the job.”
During his career he has attended numerous major incidents, some of which been indelibly planted in his mind. They including the Thredbo landslide disaster on July 30, 1997 and the Canberra bushfires in January, 2003.
He has had numerous Christmases interrupted by accidents, staffing issues, and medical emergencies and he is looking forward to being able to relax and enjoy plenty of family time.
His interests include fishing, bowls, caravaning and cruising.
“We have a very strong network of friends in Goulburn and we love the place so Goulburn will be our base,” he said.
“Dot is looking forward to us being able to do more things together without the fear that our plans will be sent into disarray by my job. We are looking forward to spending more time visiting the grandkids in Western Australia too!”
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