“Everyone has a Gary story. He is just so well respected by everyone in the service.”
That’s how paramedic Carolyn Kent sums up her colleague Gary Dyson, who has this week received recognition for the four decades of hard work he has given to the Ambulance Service of NSW.
Most recently based in Junee, Mr Dyson has given 38 years to the service – and loved every day of it. He officially retired in August.
“The job was always different. Every case was different. You never knew where you were going to be every day,” he said.
“Every case presented its own unique qualities.
“This job has its ups and downs, but it has given me the greatest enjoyment.
“But there were sad days. The deaths that were preventable were always the hardest to deal with.”
The job has also had some lighter moments. In his career, Mr Dyson delivered two babies.
One arrived in the mum’s home, while the second came into the world in a hospital lift.
“The mum said ‘it’s coming’ and the next thing, the baby was in my arms,” he said.
Mr Dyson began his working life as a boilermaker in Newcastle, but it was not where his heart lay.
“The ambulance service has always been his passion. That’s never changed,” wife Jann said.
This year, Mr Dyson extended his commitment to ambulance personnel by training to become a chaplain.
“His commitment deepened even more when he became a chaplain because he could see the need,” Mrs Dyson said.
“As a chaplain, you come alongside your colleagues and you can walk the walk and talk the talk,” Mr Dyson added.
“We don’t deal solely with trauma. Chaplains are there for anyone who needs support.”
Mr Dyson, 61, is currently fighting cancer for the second time.
In 2010 he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but successfully underwent treatment.
But as the five-year all-clear mark approached, Mr Dyson was diagnosed with a tumour in his oesophagus and this cancer has now metastasised in his lungs.
The father of two adult children – daughter Kim and son Luke – is currently embarking on a new round of chemotherapy.
Ms Kent, who is currently based at Jerilderie, had periodically crossed professional paths with Mr Dyson, but got to know him well as they undertook chaplain training together.
“This man has made such a difference,” she said.
“Most paramedics last 10 or 12 years. Gary has been there for 38 years. He has been a trailblazer.”