John Edelsten an example of volunteering everyone should follow | opinion

Tasmania’s health system is often making headlines for something negative.

Ambulance ramping, emergency department wait times, or lack of hospital admission beds seem to be the perpetual story of the health sector.

These stories emerge and circulate, despite increased funding, more ward beds opening and hospital redevelopments funded in the 2018-19 Tasmanian Budget.

However, the health sector has some amazing, incredible stories – no one can dispute that.

Volunteer ambulance officer John Edelsten is one of those stories.

Mr Edelsten has been a volunteer ambulance officer for five years, but this week called time on his volunteering career.

As a volunteer ambulance officer, John Eldelsten, 80, is older than the majority of his patients. 

Based at Beaconsfield, Mr Edelsten said the role had brought him an incredible sense of purpose, but it wasn’t something he went looking for. 

Mr Edleston moved to Tasmania with his wife Meg about 15 years ago, after a long career as a chartered accountant in the UK. 

At the time, Mrs Edelsten was recovering from treatment for lung cancer.  Mr Edelsten said her “miraculous” recovery inspired him to give back to the community.

In a time when volunteering rates continue to plummet, Mr Edelsten is living proof that you can change give back to your community at any age and you can give back in myriad different ways.

As our society becomes increasingly time-poor, volunteering is often left at the bottom of the pile of priorities. But, if you ask people individually, most would say they felt a need or a desire to give back to the community they live in.

Mr Edelsten said he sort of “fell into” volunteer ambulance officer but felt great satisfaction doing it.

Tasmania has an ageing population and that presents a great opportunity for retirees looking for a change.

There are volunteer roles for everyone, in a myriad of different fields and doing different work.

Volunteering is a spectrum that you come in and out of, it is not something that you do once and leave.

Mr Edelsten is proof that volunteering can work for you at any age, and that it’s up to us in the community to identify when we can do so.