Local St. John Ambulance team honoured for 50 years of service in Kamloops

By Chad Klassen
November 22, 2017 - 2:06pm Updated: November 22, 2017 - 9:57pm

KAMLOOPS — The local division of the St. John Ambulance is celebrating 50 years of medical service in Kamloops. 

A vital part of any community, the non-profit organization is at nearly every event in the city, providing medical care wherever and whenever it's needed thanks to the help of volunteers. 

On Tuesday night, Division 518 in Kamloops was honoured with a plaque commemorating 50 yeras of medical services in the Tournament Capital of Canada. 

"50 years for any organization to be operating continuously is an amazing feat," says division superintendant Andy Philpot, who's a retired firefighter. "We've very proud of being able to serve the citizens of Kamloops for 50 years."

Officials from the provincial office were in the city Tuesday night to honour the volunteers for their work. Jill Wurflinger says it's a credit to the Kamloops community. 

"50 years means that for all of those tournaments, for all of those sports events, whether it's for youth or seniors, St. John Ambulance has been there," she notes. "I think what's really wonderful about what happens here is, you can get quite used to something and start to take something for granted, but this community of Kamloops, you can see from all the awards they have received, does not take them for granted."

The local St. John Ambulance team, which consists of 104 members, has evolved over the 50 years - from merely first-aid attendants to first responders.

"The adult division, or Division 518, we supply volunteer medical first responder services on a volunteer basis at 250 community events a year, and these events range anywhere from a two-hour charity walk to wildlights [at the B.C. Wildlife Park], which is 21, 23 days long," said Philpot. 

Cauldron officially lit for 2018 B.C. Winter Games