Bowen paramedic Gene Curtis has been named an Ambulance Service Medal recipient in the Australia Day 2021 Honours List. Photo: File
Bowen paramedic Gene Curtis has been named an Ambulance Service Medal recipient in the Australia Day 2021 Honours List. Photo: File

Humble Bowen ambo makes Australia Day Honours List

A Bowen paramedic who has spent four decades serving the community and rushing to help in times of emergency has been honoured for his commitment.

Officer Gene Curtis has been named an Ambulance Service Medal recipient in the Australia Day 2021 Honours List.

Mr Curtis said winning awards was something that did not cross his mind, but he was humbled by the honour.

"It means the world in that I've done the right thing over the years and my choice of career was correct," Mr Curtis said.

"Even though I don't feel I'm doing anything special, I'm very grateful."

Mr Curtis began his career as an honorary ambulance officer with the Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade in Cloncurry in 1979.

 

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During his 42-year career, he has held many different roles including an 11-year stint as the officer-in-charge of Collinsville Ambulance Station.

Mr Curtis has seen the Queensland Ambulance Service progress from basic care to a truly first-class system delivering quality pre-hospital care.

Mr Curtis said it was a "desire to help my fellow man" that encouraged him to get up and put the teal uniform on for such a large portion of his life.

He feels honoured to be part of life-changing events for his patients and their families.

"It's a sign of trust that they let us in and it's absolutely awe-inspiring because we go into their most intimate moments," Mr Curtis said.

"What we do really makes a difference to peoples' lives and it's heartwarming to be in that position."

Bowen Police constables Jael Jackwitz and Corey Bradford and Bowen Ambulance Station's Jack Vandenheuvel and Gene Curtis looking after the revellers at the Bowen Fishing Classic and Wet Weekend in 2014.
Bowen Police constables Jael Jackwitz and Corey Bradford and Bowen Ambulance Station's Jack Vandenheuvel and Gene Curtis looking after the revellers at the Bowen Fishing Classic and Wet Weekend in 2014.

When asked whether he was planning to celebrate his retirement soon, Mr Curtis said it was difficult to think about as he would miss everyone a lot.

Mr Curtis is one of three ambulance officers to be awarded the medal, with Gary Cotterill from Childers Ambulance Station and Julie Calvert from Cleveland Ambulance Station also being honoured.

Between them, the three recipients have racked up 116 years of service.

The Ambulance Service Medal recognises distinguished and outstanding service by the men and women of Australia's ambulance organisations.

It's an acknowledgment of their outstanding service to the community and as role models within the QAS.

Tia Evans, Victoria Winch, Amy Scamlam and Gene Curtis at the Bowen RSL after the Anzac Day Dawn Service in 2015.
Tia Evans, Victoria Winch, Amy Scamlam and Gene Curtis at the Bowen RSL after the Anzac Day Dawn Service in 2015.

QAS commissioner Russell Bowles said the QAS was extremely proud of the medal 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," Mr 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.

"It's a credit to them to be recognised for their efforts and we are fortunate to have them representing our organisation."