The humblest hero

The humblest hero

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Paramedic Sharron Price was a recipient of the community heroes award. Photograph – Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne.

St John ambulance paramedic Sharron Price was one of eight recipients of the community heroes award on February 22.

The award recognised Ms Price’s actions on the night of October 10, when she and Serpentine Jarrahdale paramedic Wesley Ackerman were involved in a crash on Mundijong Road.

The crash left Mr Ackerman fighting for his life and although Ms Price received minor injuries it left her shaken.

“I remember every second of the accident,” she said.

“It was still dark and Wes was snoozing in the passenger seat with his eyes closed.

“I had just passed Duckpond Road on Mundijong Road and saw the headlights of the oncoming car.

“As I approached the bend I dipped my headlights and then noticed the car coming toward me had crossed onto my side of the road.

“It happened so quickly; both of his headlights were on my side of the white lines with the back of his car still partly on his side.

“I was traveling at the speed limit, 100 per hour and as soon as I realised he was on my side I attempted to avoid him by steering to the right.

“We hit almost immediately and I remember the sound of the impact and then I was upside down in the pitch dark hanging from my seat belt.”

Ms Price said she felt a moment of panic as she was trapped in the car until a passer by let her out.

“As soon as I was out I asked to use his phone and I called our communication centre to get help for us,” she said.

“I looked back into the ambulance but where Wes should have been sitting was where the dash board was now and I couldn’t see him but I could hear him moaning.

“I was afraid of what injuries I would find.”

Although the ambulance, which came from Rockingham, took 10 minutes Ms Price said it felt like a long time.

“I felt helpless knowing Wes needed help but I was unable to get to him,” she said.

“I also felt hysterical but managed to keep it together.”

It took 45 minutes to release Mr Ackerman from the wreckage and he was immediately taken to Royal Perth Hospital.

Ms Price said it was amazing he survived his injuries.

“It’s a miracle nobody died that night,” she said.

“The impact was horrific.”

Despite Ms Price’s experience she said she loved being a paramedic and said it was rewarding to help people.

“You are part of a team that are like family,” she said.

“I feel honoured to have worked with Wes.

“I saw him at the award ceremony and he has a limp but he looked fit and strong.

“He is a determined person and he will be back on the road working before we know it.”

Ms Price said she was honoured to have received the award but at the same time said it felt odd because she did not feel like a hero.

“I did what had to be done,” she said.

St John Ambulance chief executive officer Tony Ahern said each award winner had delivered outstanding first aid under extreme pressure.

“These people have demonstrated courage, skill and exceptional judgment in putting the needs of others first,” he said.

“They thoroughly deserve this recognition.

“Their efforts saved lives or prevented further injury often in difficult or dangerous circumstances.”