By GLORIA BAUAI
GARETT Mesmana, 32, of East New Britain loves being employed as an ambulance driver as it is rewarding and fulfilling.
Growing up, Garett never dreamt that one day he would be helping to transport sick people to the hospital, or be closely involved in the health sector.
He had other interests.
“I always wanted to be an electrician.”
Garett now has a four-month-old son and he wants to do the best he can to provide for his first child.
He completed grades one to eight at the Ruango Primary School, grades nine to 12 at Hagen Secondary School before attending the Port Moresby Technical School in 2007.
He studied mechanical engineering before working as a mechanic with a company in Lae. But after two and half years, he was among those let go by the company in a redundancy exercise.
Garett was out of work and desperate to find a source of income, preferably as a mechanic in some garage.
“ But the thing I love about my job is after I help someone and see them recovering, I feel happy and satisfied that I have played a part in helping that person.”
While looking around, he meanwhile took on jobs driving for various companies in Lae.
His break came when his mother was sick and had to be hospitalised. Garett had to be by her bedside at the hospital.
“My interest to help the sick came about when I was caring for my late mum who had cancer.”
While there, he was told that there was a vacancy for an ambulance driver. It was the opportunity he was looking for and immediately applied.
Now three years later, being an ambulance driver has become his contribution to helping the sick.
Later, he came across another vacancy advertised by the St John Ambulance in Lae. He was accepted and underwent a four-month intensive training in Port Moresby.
“We learnt about all the equipment in the ambulance and different emergency cases such as choking and childbirth.”
Garett and two others returned to Lae with the St John Ambulance regional commander Anderson Poumb to set up an office there.
The Lae office was opened in May this year and Garett is very much part of the operation.
To him, it has been an interesting experience so far.
“In my previous ambulance driver role, I was only limited to driving. Only the nurses attend to patients.
“But now with much more training, I’m more than just a driver. I can also attend to patients until we reach the hospital. Yes it can be exhausting because emergencies will occur anytime.”
He is responsible for keeping the ambulance clean and ready to go at any time.
“Regardless of the day or time, and unlike other driving roles, I have to wash the vehicle at the end of every emergency run to prepare for the next run.”
Because the St John Ambulance service is new to Lae, many people are not aware of it.
He advises Lae residents to make use of the free service.
“Call 111 because we’re happy to respond to your emergency call.”
Garett knows that his work schedule can be demanding at times but his family members understand what he is doing and are proud of him.
“The thing I love about my job is after I help someone and see them recovering, I feel happy and satisfied that I have played a part in helping that person. And it’s more rewarding when the person you help also knows you.”