140th Hero: The Living Legend, Ann Demaine

News from St John - 16 Jun 2023

For over a century, we have been focused on building resilient communities, supporting vulnerable Queenslanders, and saving lives. 

Ann stands out as a shining example of one of our dedicated individuals.  

At 87 years old, the retired nurse and midwife has selflessly dedicated 62 years of her life as a volunteer for St John Ambulance Queensland serving us with commitment and passion. 

A Humble Beginning:

In 1961, Ann, along with her husband Norman, embarked on a new chapter in their lives as migrants from England. 

Little did they know that a chance encounter with the Superintendent of the Serviceton Division of St John Ambulance Cadets would be the catalyst for a lifelong journey of service.  

She was invited to teach home nursing to St John Cadets, this the start of her extraordinary affiliation with St John Ambulance. 

Dedication and Distinction: 

Over the years, Ann’s dedication to St John has been unwavering. She has selflessly volunteered her time and skills, leaving an indelible impact on countless lives.  

Her exceptional service led to her inclusion in the Women of St John book, a testament to her remarkable contributions.  

Her outstanding commitment was also recently recognised when she was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Medal for an incredible 60 years of service. 

A medal she says the Queen approved recognising that volunteers are living longer and should be rewarded.

A Lifetime of Memorable Experiences:

Ann’s journey with the organisation has been one filled with incredible experiences.  

She played a pivotal role in the 1982 Commonwealth Games, overseeing the billeting of St John Ambulance representatives from across the Commonwealth.  

During the 1988 Expo, she tirelessly served as a First Aid volunteer for six months, offering care and support to visitors from all walks of life.  

Her commitment extended to annual events included Indy 500 at the Gold Coast, where she provided essential First Aid services. 

Ann’s involvement with St John has allowed her to meet renowned figures such as David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen, leaving her with cherished memories. 

Connection to Community:

“In the 1970s, I had the incredible opportunity to make a profound impact on the lives of individuals in Wynnum. During that time, ambulance officers were required to possess a St John Ambulance certification along with a home nursing component as part of their training. 

 I played a pivotal role in the Wesley Hospital training model, where I dedicated myself to training ambulance drivers in the essential aspects of home nursing.”

“What made this experience truly remarkable was the fact that, as a nurse rather than a doctor, I had the privilege of teaching home nursing certification to paramedics,  

It was a unique and fulfilling responsibility that I cherished deeply. The opportunity to equip these dedicated individuals with the skills and knowledge to provide compassionate care outside of hospital walls was truly special.”

“One moment stands out as a truly life-changing experience as a volunteer. During a shift at Archerfield Speedway, I was called to assist a woman who had a medical episode in the restroom. With quick thinking and decisive action, I ensured she received the necessary attention and was rushed to hospital. The gratitude she expressed was overwhelming, as she hugged and kissed me in appreciation. Seeing her relieved and comforted was a deeply emotional moment for both of us, evoking a flood of memories and reminding me of the significance of my work.”

Why Volunteer for St John Ambulance Queensland

When asked about her unwavering commitment to St John Ambulance, Ann highlights the historical significance of the organisation and inspired by Florence Nightingale. 

She speaks highly of seeing St John volunteers at football matches growing up in the U.K,  

“I felt an automatic connection and a calling to join the organisation. St John represents a legacy of caring and compassion that she proudly carries forward.

Being a volunteer has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have received more from St John than she could ever give,” she smiles through tears.

Ann’s story is a testament to the power of volunteerism and the lasting impact that individuals can have on their communities. 

Her dedication to St John for over six decades embodies the values of compassion, selflessness, and the desire to make a difference. 

Our volunteers, like Ann are there when you need them most. 

From providing life-saving Health and Medical Services at your local community event to responding to natural disasters, like the Brisbane floods.  

Your donation has a direct life-saving impact, equipping our dedicated team with the necessary medical equipment, skills, and supplies.