By Brendan Rees
It’s not every day you come across a person who has dedicated themselves to something for more than four decades.
Meet John Barton, who for 42 years has devoted his life to helping others.
The Cranbourne resident was awarded for his volunteer service with St John Ambulance in October since joining at age 11, and says he hasn’t looked back.
“It was a friend of mine who was in St John and was talking about it. I got interested so I went along to see what it was about,” he recalled.
He initially joined a St John unit in Caulfield before moving across to Cranbourne in 1985.
Now a regional trainer in Gippsland, Mr Barton says he has enjoyed training volunteers and watching them develop.
“You get to see a lot and go to a lot of things other people don’t get to.
“There’s the joy and pleasure of training other people and seeing them go on to perform first aid and save lives.”
Mr Barton said his involvement in Ash Wednesday was his “first big exposure” to a disaster but added nothing could have prepared him for Black Saturday which was so “close to home”.
When not volunteering, Mr Barton works as a trainer for Lifesaving Victoria, and a swim teacher and lifeguard at YMCA.
Mr Barton says after 32 years living in Cranbourne he has no intentions of leaving any time soon.
“I’ve developed a lot of relationships and friendships here, especially being at St John you get to meet a lot of people that you wouldn’t ordinarily meet,” he said.
Mr Barton was recognised for his outstanding achievement at Government House by Victorian Governor Linda Dessau on 13 October.