For the past 26+ years, Stephen Dutton’s job has been to care for sick and injured people but that doesn’t stop when he takes his paramedic’s uniform off at the end of a shift.
Stephen recently marked 20 years as the Station Officer at the Cobar Ambulance Station with a staff dinner.
(NSW Ambulance had arranged to officially mark the occasion with a larger event, however Stephen was unavailable to attend as he was caring for a sick family member.)
Stephen is the type of guy “who takes his work home with him”.
“I just like being a paramedic, I think it’s great,” Stephen told The Cobar Weekly.
“I love that it’s an outdoors job, I’m not an indoors person,” he said.
“Every job is different, everyone is different and you get to help people.
“You do however see people at their worst and see them when they are at their most vulnerable.
“But hopefully I can improve their journey,” Stephen said.
The ‘caring for people’ part of his job has extended to Stephen taking on a number of voluntary community roles.
“I’ve always thought it was important to become involved in the community, to be part of the community, and to help other people,” he said.
Stephen has served for a number of years as a volunteer member of the Cobar Health Council and is currently the Cobar representative on the Dubbo Cancer Council.
“I think it’s important for Cobar to have representation,” he said.
For the past 15 years he has also volunteered his time to help the Cobar Brennan Centre committee that oversees a subsidised aged pensioners community housing complex.
He has been a member of the Cobar Weekly Association committee since 2005 and prior to that, he was involved for a number of years as a volunteer in helping the Snelson family with the printing and collating of the paper.
Stephen was a founding member of the Cobar State Emergency Services (SES) unit (previously the VRA—Volunteer Rescue Association) when it changed over in the early 1980s where he regularly volunteered as a first aider at Copper City Speedway events.
He was also involved in fundraising for the Cobar Speed Boat Club which started a project to deepen the Old Res.
“We raised about $40,000 and the government came to the party with about $40,000.
“Then with the $80,000 we turned the Old Res into what it is now,” Stephen said.
“We always wanted to extend it to the tree line, but we ran out of money.”
In his current role as the Cobar Station Officer, Stephen oversees four Cobar staff, and he is also responsible for staff and volunteers in Wilcannia and White Cliffs.
“My job is more or less to support them, make sure they’ve got all the equipment they need and all the training they need.”
As part of his job, he also looks after the mental and emotional needs of his staff if they are called upon to attend some “nasty jobs”.
Being a paramedic wasn’t however Stephen’s first calling.
After growing up in Hermidale and doing his high schooling in Sydney, Stephen went in to the Army for 12 months. He came to Cobar to work at CSA Mine in January 1983.
Stephen became involved in the Mines Rescue Unit and in 1996 (after the mine was purchased by Ashanti Gold) he decided to pack up his family and move to Sydney where he spent the next 12 months training as an ambulance officer.
His first posting was to Broken Hill where they lived for six years before moving back to Cobar (to be closer to family) and Stephen was promoted to the Station Officer role.
He and wife Margaret have recently bought a caravan but that’s just for holidays, not retirement…just yet!