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Lifesaver from down on the farm

Wellington Free Ambulance event medic Camille Armstrong is all about caring for the community. PHOTO/JOHN LAZO-RON

Dairy farmer making an important difference

Throughout Wairarapa, we have firefighters rushing into burning houses, police officers placing themselves in often disturbing situations, and paramedics can often be the difference between life and death.

Many are volunteers who constantly display acts of selflessness and sacrifice for their community.

One of those volunteer paramedics who sacrifices so much to help is Masterton’s Camille Armstrong, a dairy farmer by day, but potentially saving lives in the afternoon.

She’s been an event medic for Wellington Free Ambulance since early last year, covering sporting and community events, concerts, and even backing up WFA frontline crews in emergencies while studying to become a full-time paramedic.

While juggling those acts, she’s a board member of both Masterton Primary School and a perinatal mental health organisation.

She was previously running the children’s ministry at her church with her husband.

When asked what aspired her to become a volunteer paramedic, Armstrong told Midweek what initially drove her was seeing so many crashes near the dairy farm she works on north of Masterton.

“With dairy farming starting in the middle of the night sometimes, I’ve come across so many car accidents happening close to where I was,” she said.

“Seeing that happen constantly is what drove me to become a paramedic to be able to help those in difficult or dangerous situations.

“But it’s not just about assisting medically; there are some people in the community who go through mental breakdowns or trying to commit suicide. Getting alongside them and trying to lift them up and get them out of that headspace motivates me to do this.

“It can be scary, but I do love it.”

Camille Armstrong is studying to become a full-time paramedic at Wellington Free Ambulance.

Armstrong started volunteering when her youngest child started kindergarten.

“For me, it was a really great way for me to venture out of that mummy stage of life and do something for me.

“WFA has been amazing to volunteer for. They just don’t teach you how to save a life, they also teach you how to care for our community, how to identify and communicate with those who need a helping hand and how to treat and care for everyone.

“I’ve learnt so much, and they continue to encourage us to learn more. Everyone is also so kind and helpful. It’s a whole new world with them, and I feel so privileged to be part of the organisation.

“Again, I love everything about it.”

Armstrong said if you’ve ever thought about volunteering, now is the time.

“Being in the midst of people who are struggling and hurting, I understand the great need for everyone to rally together and help one another out,” she said.

“Life isn’t about making money and what you can get from it, but what you can give back. “Most people don’t understand that the most joy in life actually comes from giving.

“There are so many amazing organisations out there that just want to help people, and really need people with a big heart to be a part of their vision.

“All you have to do is find one that matches your passion and get in touch with them.”

Armstrong said WFA was a great service to depend on, being the free emergency ambulance service ready and waiting to help you when you need them.

“The time and energy they spend in upskilling us is testament to their passion, standards and level of care they provide,” she said.

“Passion is everything. Regardless of your walk of life, where you come from, how much money is in your bank account, you know you are safe with Wellington Free.”

We want to celebrate those in police, fire and emergency, and Wellington Free Ambulance at Midweek who do so much to keep our community safe.

  • This is the first of a multi-part series called Unsung Heroes of Emergency.

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