Few days went by when Phil Hoey did not see someone having a stroke.
A paramedic for more than four decades, in retirement he now works as a Stroke Foundation ambassador.
"It's simple to recognise once you know what you're looking for, and that's the thing, you have to know," Mr Hoey said.
"If you don't know, you can't raise the alarm and it's a time-critical condition. It's absolutely critical to get the person to care straight away, it's not something you can monitor or watch over a few hours to see how it goes."
In Australia, a person experiences a stroke every nine minutes.
Across the Riverina, 410 people will likely experience one this year.
It does not discriminate against age, gender or even fitness level in most cases.
"Probably the youngest I attended was 28, she was fit and healthy, no reason to have a stroke at all," Mr Hoey said.
"Your activity level, what you eat, if you smoke, these are factors that can contribute to a stroke and make you more at risk, but you can't always prevent it."
Mr Hoey now travels the region teaching the importance of F.A.S.T. action when dealing with a stroke.
The acronym spells out the main signs of a stroke: drooping of the face, a sudden weight of the arms, slurring of the speech, and the critical amount of time.
"I've seen this work, about 18 months ago I did a talk about how to tell the signs of a stroke, and then about two weeks later I was called to house, where a man who had been in my talk had noticed his wife's condition over lunch, and within the hour she was in treatment," Mr Hoey said.
"If you suddenly get an enormous headache, you're not feeling well, get it checked out. Sadly, people think they can sleep it off, and it's them we can't help."
If unsure, Mr Hoey recommends seeking medical advice anyway as he chances it is better to be wrong than to be right and to not seek care.
"The faster you get to someone, the better chance they have of recovery," he said.
"I'm talking a matter of days recovery to get back to living a normal life, instead of spending the next few years re-learning how to walk. That's the difference a few hours can make."
The difference is particularly stark when it comes to the smaller towns around the region.
"The best care in stroke situations comes from Albury or Wagga hospitals, so they have to be taken there," Mr Hoey said.
"There's about a 4.5 hour window for the best recovery chance, to go back to a life without paralysis. Everywhere [in the region] is within four hours of either Wagga or Albury, so it's critical to get to them as soon as possible."