IT WAS sad to hear about Chris Firns’ passing.
He was someone who always had Toodyay’s interests at heart.
I would like to record the following and express thanks for Chris’s actions on the first and following days of our catastrophic bushfire in 2009.
As Toodyay Shire President, Chris played a leading role in the emergency recovery process working as the shire representative liaising with Julie Brown, the Emergency Welfare Officer with the Northam-based Department of Child Protection.
Chris worked tirelessly helping to organise food and emergency accommodation for evacuees and supported the volunteers during the long days that followed.
Those early days were crucial for providing immediate assistance.
Subsequently, the official Toodyay Bushfire Recovery Committee was set up with representatives of local and state government agencies, the Salvation Army, Red Cross and other groups.
As part of this, the Toodyay Bushfire Recovery Team was established, and co-ordinated by former shire councillor Charlie Wroth.
We owe a lot to Chris, Charlie, and all the volunteers, for the part they played in Toodyay’s ongoing recovery.
Dr Robyn Taylor
Professional Historian (MPHA)
ON BEHALF of my family and myself, I would like to take this opportunity to write to The Herald to thank those in the community who have supported me after my dismissal as a volunteer for St John’s Ambulance.
We as a family have been overwhelmed with the kindness and compassion shown towards us during these past difficult months.
We are amazed at the lengths of concern that some have shown and their continued support.
For an organisation such as St John’s which relies so heavily on volunteers, it reflects very poorly on their management that volunteers are not able to raise concerns that they face while on the job, without fear of backlash or reprisal.
I have no doubt that the bullying and intimidation directed at myself was initiated within management at the Regional Office (in Northam).
I have thoroughly enjoyed my 39 years of volunteering as an ambulance officer, serving the community of Toodyay.
I have gained so many new skills and confidence and met some truly wonderful people and made lifelong friendships.
Please continue to support the volunteers as it still is a very difficult time for them as well at the Toodyay sub-centre.
ON BEHALF of the Toodyay Farmers Market Committee I would like to take this opportunity to thank all at The Toodyay Herald for your ongoing support for the markets.
We are coming up to our fifth anniversary this April and without people like yourselves supporting us, this milestone would not have been achieved.
So again, thank you one and all.
Toodyay Farmers Market Committee
IT IS with heartfelt thanks I am writing this to the supporters of Charlie Wroth.
There are too many of you to thank personally for your individual efforts but please be assured you are all in our hearts and minds.
As Charlie’s sister, I was stunned to hear of his treatment by St John Ambulance WA (SAJA).
He was shattered.
Please keep emailing those who can make a difference, as we cannot let this fade away.
Charlie is prohibited from speaking out, so please continue to be his voice.
SJAWA is deepening the chasm between paid and volunteer ambulance officers.
We cannot allow this to happen to all the wonderful volunteers from all walks of life.
“We have your back Charlie” is a phrase I have heard from Charlie’s friends and former colleagues.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for standing by our special man.
IN THE early hours of 29 December 2019, my friend’s kangaroo Free Beer was tragically run over and killed on West Toodyay Road.
My friend Debbie Dymond adopted Free Beer and Bunji two years ago and raised them by hand on her property in Wooroloo.
The kangaroos had to be fed at four-hourly intervals and Debbie basically put her life on hold for two years to raise these beautiful creatures.
Last month Debbie moved to a property on West Toodyay Road to fulfill her dream of ‘rewilding’ her kangaroos.
Tragically Free Beer wandered onto the road and was killed in horrific circumstances.
While I would never condone anyone swerving to miss wildlife on the road – it is possible to lose control of the car – I urge drivers to use caution when driving in areas known for wildlife activity.
If kangaroos are sighted near the road it is possible to slow down in advance.
If a kangaroo is inadvertently hit, it is preferable to pull over and check on the animal.
A ranger can attend to euthanise an injured animal so they don’t suffer unnecessarily, and pouches can be checked for joeys.
Free Beer was a totally tame and loving kangaroo,
He would have been sitting near the road calmly checking things out and his death was avoidable and unnecessary.
His sibling Bunji is so traumatised she spends her days by Debbie’s side or lying down on Free Beer’s grave.
I hope this article raises awareness about wildlife, especially with so many bush creatures lost in recent bushfires and I urge drivers to be vigilant on the road and avoid unnecessary deaths.
AFTER more than 30 years of volunteering as an ambulance officer, Charlie Wroth has been tossed on the scrap heap by St John Ambulance’s paid officials.
We tried to find out why our colleague was removed from his position as president of the Toodyay sub-centre last month and sacked from the organisation as a whole but hit the brick wall of bureaucracy.
We were told the reasons for his dismissal were “confidential” and that was as far as we got.
It is not the first time that St John administrators have sought to remove Charlie from the local sub-branch.
A year or so ago he was ‘paused’.
If you strip back this ‘weasel word’ to common language, it means he was rendered powerless to perform any volunteering duties and was sworn to secrecy.
He couldn’t even tell his wife why he wasn’t answering any ambulance call-outs.
St John officials instructed Charlie to tell everyone that he was “on holidays”.
Perhaps Charlie’s forthright comments in representing sub-branch volunteers was an affront to management who issues directives which at times are at odds with the volunteer experience.
Whatever the reason, to summarily dismiss a dedicated volunteer and have him escorted to and from the premises is disgraceful.
The remaining volunteers have been put in the invidious position of either resigning in solidarity with Charlie or continuing to volunteer for an organisation that does not respect years of selfless commitment to the local community and surrounding areas.
IT IS with great sadness and sorrow I write this letter in support of former Toodyay St John Ambulance Chairperson Charlie Wroth after his very unfair sacking by the organisation’s hierarchy.
They need to get out into the real world where all the work is done by volunteers who are unpaid.
Along with Charlie, I have also spent more than 35 years day, night and in between supporting the Toodyay community rain, hail or shine.
This treatment of our ambulance service volunteers and the community is injustice at its worst.
Freedom of speech does not exist in the eyes of St John.
My continued love and support to Charlie and his family.
I HAVE been a volunteer with the St John Toodyay Sub-Centre for more than 35 years.
In the years I have worked with Charlie Wroth he has always shown a high level of professionalism and commitment to the St John Ambulance Association.
As a volunteer Charlie has given far more than the community should expect.
Charlie was always available to help and trained new volunteers and played a pivotal role in the successful operation of our centre.
I am disappointed and appalled at the treatment Charlie has received from an organisation I was once proud to work for.
I AM Charlie Wroth’s sister and would like to express my thoughts on his dismissal by St John Ambulance.
This followed the Emergency Services Volunteer Forum in Northam on July 3 hosted by the National Party at which he expressed comments and concerns.
This action by St John says a lot about the organisation.
It shows a complete lack of comprehension by paid employees of St John to the work, commitment and sacrifice of the organisation’s volunteers.
There is an alarming disparity in medical outcomes for country people compared with those living in the city.
The country volunteers of St John Ambulance play an important role in mitigating these statistics.
Because of this, supporting volunteers and appreciating their feedback should be a priority.
The recent action of St John to dismiss Charlie is definitely inconsistent with their stated values.
I feel that Toodyay and the surrounding areas can ill afford to lose a person with such experience, dedication and passion.
I AM EXTREMELY disappointed to lose from our volunteer family a man that I truly admire, who inducted me into the Toodyay St John Ambulance.
Charlie Wroth was always there to offer advice and training, answer queries or just make a phone call to ask if I was OK after a potentially disturbing ambulance call out.
How dare St John management (paid employees) treat so badly one of their most dedicated volunteers who has given years of unpaid service.
If he were a paid employee, he would be afforded support and appeal avenues through Fair Work Australia or an associated union body.
Alas volunteers are not afforded this luxury for something they do without any pay at all.
Where does St John’s public ideal of “service of humanity” come to play in their dealings with him.
How dare they sack a man that we voted for, fully supported and valued to be our leader.
This man is active in other emergency service organisations and is the ‘go to’ person in any contacts and collaboration required to ensure the smooth operation of joint operations and promotional activities.
I am a very disappointed and disillusioned volunteer ambulance officer.