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Helping people in need is so ‘gratifying’

At your service: Jeffrey Borges, longstanding member of St John Ambulance. Now aged 34, he finds himself in the role of deputy commissioner at the all-volunteer charity. He drives the ambulance and serves as a medic first responder(Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Stepping up for the St John Ambulance initially seemed like just an expedient choice for Jeffrey Borges.

Called up by the then Bermuda Regiment, Mr Borges had figured the alternative option of medical service suited him better.

Seven years later, now aged 34, he finds himself relishing the unexpected role of deputy commissioner at the all-volunteer charity, along with driving the ambulance and serving as a medic first responder.

“I enjoyed it so much, I decided that I would stay on — and now here I am today,” Mr Borges told The Royal Gazette.

He added that no slight was intended on Bermuda’s defence force.

For the medics, the battle is a different one: members of the group are assigned to watch over all manner of public events on a weekly basis, and attend to anyone in need.

Initially a little nervous of what might come his way, Mr Borges pitched in more and more, including at an administrative level.

In his second year, “they saw potential”, he said, and he was asked to take on the job of recruitment and retention officer.

“Before I joined St John’, I never knew about half the things that were happening in Bermuda — it opens your eyes when you see what’s going on all the time,” he said.

The volunteers are there for all manner of sporting events such as Race Weekend, the Rugby Classic, football matches and motocross, as well as big public events such as Cup Match and the Agricultural Exhibition.

A single man with time on his hands, Mr Borges enjoys giving his extra hours, even if it means working a lot of weekends.

St John Ambulance is “always looking for people to help out — you would think with 50 volunteers that we had plenty, but with so much going on we could use another 50”.

Service is gratifying: helping people in need, or just being there to ensure that an event can happen in the first place.

“Some can’t take place at all without an ambulance provided, so it’s a good feeling allowing them to do what they want to do,” he said. “Just knowing that you’re able to help is pretty rewarding. Why not put your spare time to use?”

St John Ambulance connects volunteers with new skills that come in handy anywhere, he pointed out.

“You never know when you’re going to need first aid or CPR. Someone could collapse in front of you at any time.

“Anyone willing to give a free hand and learn new skills should definitely call and see what they can do. It’s also a great way to meet new people and develop friendships along the way.”

With Mr Borges and others now helping the Commissioner to bring in fresh blood and keep their volunteers motivated, now could be the time to find out more.

•To get in touch, e-mail recruitment@sjabermuda.org.