OAM for Portland ambulance volunteer

IT seems helping people is something Portland's Tony Oxford is pretty good at.

Since his youth the 49-year-old has been a volunteer with St John Ambulance.

Mr Oxford said in the 1970s his mother linked him in with the organisation as a way to keep him on the straight and narrow.

"My parents had separated and my Mum was concerned I might run off the rails," he said.

Mr Oxford was put in touch with a friend who was involved with St John Ambulance and since then he hasn't looked back.

"I enjoyed it and I stuck with it," he said.

"I've enjoyed working with people and doing something meaningful."

Today Mr Oxford will be awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the Australia Day Honours List for his service to the community particularly through St John Ambulance Victoria.

He has been the divisional superintendent, of the Portland division, for St John Ambulance since 2005.

Since he began volunteering in 1976 he has had various roles in the Northern Territory and Victoria and was part of a team who responded to the Queensland floods in January 2010.

Mr Oxford is also a paramedic with Ambulance Victoria and has been the Southern Grampians district group manager since 2007.

Last year Mr Oxford received an Australian Service Medal for his dedication to the community.

He said he believed if you're good at a job it will usually be a job you enjoy.

"I do enjoy it and hopefully do a reasonable job at it," he said.

"I'm not very good at building things though.

"Anybody who helps someone else feels good."

Mr Oxford said in the work he had done there was often times that were difficult and challenging.

"A lot of things you go to you'd rather probably not be involved in," he said.

"But you're there to help.

"I think you learn to cope overtime. It's not nice sometimes.

"The people you work with are the key though."

Mr Oxford said one of his proudest achievements was establishing the Portland Coast Guard Flotilla with Col Renton who was the Senior Sergeant at Portland at the time.

He also praised the members of the Portland and Warrnambool divisions of St John Ambulance who he said gave him great confidence.

cquirk@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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