140th Hero – The Townsville Doctor Making A Difference 

News from St John - 16 Jun 2023

Early Access to First Aid, setting kids up for success.  

Townsville based Doctor Matthew Riggs began his journey with St John Ambulance Queensland over a decade ago as a teenager. 

It was during this time as a Cadet at the Welcome Creek division, on the outskirts of Bundaberg that his passion for health was ignited.  

Inspired by his parents’ emphasis on community involvement, Dr. Riggs says he saw the St John Ambulance Cadet Program as an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to his regional community while pursuing his interests. 

First Aid and Pre-Hospital Medicine: 

Dr. Riggs learnt First Aid at an early age and says that is what now serves him well in his profession, an appreciation of pre-hospital medicine.  

“My early exposure to First Aid provided me with an appreciation for the intricacies and challenges of pre-hospital medicine,” he says.  

“I know the knowledge and skills acquired during my Cadet years solidified my interest in my current specialisation, where I am training as a rural generalist with a focus on anaesthetics and paediatrics.” 

Community Contribution and Personal Development: 

During his time as a cadet with St John Ambulance Queensland, Dr. Riggs actively participated in weekly meetings, where he honed on his First Aid skills, his ability to work under pressure and interpersonal skills.   

The cadet program, with its non-clinical aspects akin to scouts, instilled a variety of skills in what Dr. Riggs says prepared him for the demands of his future medical career. 

A stand-out achiever in the Cadets program Dr. Riggs collected 12 badges, including the esteemed Grand Prior award, while also demonstrating leadership as a Cadet Corporal.  

The Importance of Youth Programs Such as St John Ambulance First Aid in Schools: 

 Dr. Riggs emphasises the importance of first aid and the value of teaching it in younger generations.  

“It equips individuals with lifesaving skills and teaches the value of remaining calm and composed during emergencies.” 

“Interpersonal skills are so important in rural medicine, an area where doctors play a pivotal role in building and sustaining the foundation of local communities.” 

By having good healthcare, local people stay local and can confidently start families and contribute to the growth and prosperity of their hometowns. 

St John Ambulance’s Enduring Legacy 

 “There is a remarkable legacy of St John Ambulance in Queensland. With its enduring values of community support and service, the organisation will remain timeless,” says Mr Riggs.  

Our Hero:  

Dr. Matthew Riggs, a dedicated doctor at the Townsville Hospital, exemplifies the power of community involvement, personal growth, and the pursuit of excellence and the values St John Ambulance holds dear. 

Driven by a passion for improving the health of his town and the wider community, Dr. Riggs continues to embody the values of St John Ambulance Queensland, our 140th Hero.  

“To enable people like Dr Riggs to continue to help out the community please do so by donating to St John”.