Childers ambulance officer Gary Cotterill has received the prestigious Ambulance Service Medal (ASM) in the Australia Day 2021 Honours List in recognition of 42 years’ service.
Gary began his career as an Ambulance Officer in 1979 at the Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade (QATB) in Brisbane before continuing his career in Childers.
Throughout his distinguished career, Gary has been highly valued and respected by both the Childers and broader Queensland community, as well as his peers and the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS).
Gary told QAS the award made him extremely proud to be a paramedic.
“I was stunned,” Gary said.
“As it slowly dawned on me, I realised I’m in some exceptionally esteemed company here.”
Gary initially retired two years ago but missed his teal uniform and job so much that he returned to his duties as a paramedic after the short-lived retirement stint.
“I adore the interaction we as paramedics have with our patients and we get better at it with every patient we deal with,” Gary said.
“I cannot, and could not during my entire career, see myself doing anything else.
“It is a truly wonderful and rewarding career and I work with the best people humanity can come up with.”
Gary credits his wife for his longevity.
“She understands me, she knows when I am battered and bruised,” Gary said.
“She stands me up, dusts me off and ensures I am fully functional.”
The Childers ambulance officer was one of three ASM recipients within the Queensland Ambulance Service.
QAS Commissioner Russell Bowles said the QAS was extremely proud of their ASM recipients for 2021 and all their achievements.
“With 116 years of service between Gary, Gene and Julie, it is no wonder the QAS is held in such high regard,” Commissioner Bowles said.
“All three officers are very well-respected by their peers and their communities and have shown outstanding commitment, dedication and a genuine desire to make a positive difference to people’s lives.”