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LifeFlight’s Steph meets COVID challenge

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Stepj McKenzie
RACQ LifeFlight Rescue's new Community Engagement Coordinator Steph McKenzie

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s first community engagement coordinator for the Bundaberg region, Steph McKenzie, knew she would have to contend with many challenges when she took on the job, but a global pandemic was the last thing she was expecting.

Steph said she was certainly “thrown in the deep end”.

“I was in the new role for less than two weeks before COVID-19 hit and turned everything upside down,” Steph said.

“I think the COVID-19 pandemic will be the story of the century for me.

“I am just so grateful that I landed this amazing position before the restrictions were put in place.”

While some things like car accident call outs may have slowed down due to COVID-19 restrictions keeping people off the streets, their important work continues.

“RACQ LifeFlight Rescue is a crucial life saving service which is available to absolutely anyone in their hour of need and that has continued during COVID-19.

“A patient in a critical condition who needs to be transported to a hospital quickly can rely on LifeFlight to get them there when going by road would take too long.”

In 2019 the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter flew over 300 lifesaving missions in the region and with 2020 already shaping up to be a busy year, Steph’s role was created as demand grew.

“The senior fundraising coordinator on the Sunshine Coast was responsible for fundraising from Brisbane to Bundaberg.

“With the Bundaberg region growing rapidly and the new Bundaberg Aeromedical Base being built, the need for someone in this position proved to be a rather demanding.”

Steph comes from the automotive industry, as an apprentice mechanic, and is relishing being RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Bundaberg’s first Community Engagement Coordinator.

“My role is split between fundraising, administration and awareness – it’s so important to raise awareness.

“Half of my week consists of working with the amazing team at the LifeFlight Foundation, mostly the Community Team.

“We work on post-COVID upcoming events, engagement with the community and finding new ways to raise vital funds for our service.”

Steph has big goals for the coming year.

“My plan for the next 12 months is to maintain a strong rapport with our community.

“I'm not just talking about Bundaberg but also the likes of the Fraser Coast and out to Monto, Gayndah, Mundubbera, Eidsvold, Mount Perry and in between.”

One of the first major events RACQ LifeFlight Rescue are working towards is holding their Community Open Day which was postponed indefinitely, though a date hasn’t been set yet.

“It's going to be wonderful to finally be able to showcase this new facility to the public.

“It truly is an amazing facility, with an accommodation wing for the crew as well as many more storage spaces and facilities for medical and maintenance equipment.”

To keep up to date with what Steph McKenzie and the rest of the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue team follow their Facebook page.

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