Sally Anne Moffat
3 May 2012
Marist Father Peter Roe is a man of a mission, on a mission. While Marists are missionaries, Father Roe’s mission is to bring comfort to Wellington’s frontline emergency service workers, the people who pick up the pieces at accident scenes and in life-threatening situations in the community. Through his Marist calling he offers workplace counselling and support to Wellington Free Ambulance (WFA) paramedics, volunteers and families.
‘I help the helpers. I support the people working in critical accident situations, the paramedics who from time to time may be overwhelmed by a traumatic experience they are dealing with on the job.’ he says. ’It is not the usual scene for a priest but I have a strong sense that the risk of stepping out and trying a new way is worth it. People respond to a helping hand and really value the support.’
‘The paramedics are our everyday heroes,’ continues Father Roe, ‘and they are all too human as well. They need a safe haven to work through what they see on a daily basis, and that is what I provide. They experience things that most of us only see in the movies and I help them with that side of their role as it can take its toll.’
He sees his work as a fulfilling adventure and WFA values the exceptional work he does for them immensely.
‘We couldn’t do what we do, day in and day out without knowing that someone is there to offer us a much needed lifeline,’ says WFA CE Alan O’Beirne. ‘For the paramedics, the 111 call takers, for all of our team, we also need support. Father Roe is there for our personnel and he blesses each new ambulance as it comes on the road with us so that the vehicle itself and the people in them travel safely.’
Fr Roe has worked with WFA for 10 years and relishes bringing the team a sense of hope. He sees that offering of hope as his life’s mission.
During April, WFA ran an Emergency Appeal and Fr Roe was right behind them. ’I personally know that many of you have used the Wellington Free Ambulance service over the years and that service has been free to you. The appeal is your chance to give back and ensure that we keep WFA free. The best way you can do this is by donating now or, better still, by becoming a regular monthly donor. After all, where would we be without Wellington Free?’
To make a donation to the WFA appeal, go to www.wfa.org.nz. Call 0900 wgtnfree to make a $20 donation or text ‘WFA’ to 849 to make a $3.00 donation.