Roma ambo in Qld's top 10 young leaders
IT WAS an emotional moment when Roma-based ambulance service manager Loretta Johnson was called to the stage to accept her award.
After years of dedication to the field, Ms Johnson was named as one of the Top 10 Queensland Young Leaders by the Institute of Public Administration in Brisbane last Thursday night.
She was nominated by her peers for showing strong leadership and community commitment to the southwest and was the only person from the Queensland Ambulance Service to receive the prestigious award.
Ms Johnson, who was born and raised at Injune, said she was overwhelmed to receive the award.
"I always knew I wanted to wanted to save lives,”she said.
"And I wanted to give back to the bush all it gave to me.”
The award is a culmination of Ms Johnson's commitment to helping those in need, a testament of her integrity during trying times.
"The three years I spent in Longreach were probably the toughest,” Ms Johnson said, her eyes welling up.
"I was the chair of the mental health committee, and that .... people have no idea.
"We only had a small team and we covered a large area, and all of it was in such terrible drought.
"We went to patients who were being removed from their properties.
"I have never experienced anything like it.
"We were the only lifeline for some people, they were 200km away from help.
"Some of the things I saw will never leave me.
"When you are isolated and you are people's only lifeline, it can be stressful.
"But in a way, it's given me an empathy - my colleagues know I understand what they are going through.
"I know what it's like to be going 200km in the night by yourself to a roll-over and there's no help. In a way it creates a circle of respect.
"It's certainly been good coming back down here to Roma, to be near family.”
Ms Johnson said she hoped to inspire others with her story.
"I think the most important message I have, is that growing up in the bush isn't a barrier,” she said.
"If I can win this award, you can do it too. I hope it gives strength to others, and motivates them to achieve their dreams.”