Ambulance community mourn the loss of one of their own
THE Fraser Coast ambulance community is in mourning after the region lost one of it's most passionate advocates when Kev Tootell died earlier this week.
Mr Tootell, a former paramedic, dedicated more than 60 years of his life to the ambulance service, including more than 20 years post-retirement serving on the Hervey Bay Local Ambulance Committee.
The beloved Tinana man was most well-known for his enthusastic compering of the annual Ambulance Wheel in Torquay.
Mr Tootell's wife Win said even when the pair moved from Burrum Heads to Tinana Mr Tootell, 81, would insist on driving to Hervey Bay every night for three weeks each year to run the valuable fundraiser.
"It was his baby," she said.
Prior to moving to Burrum Heads in 1993, Mr Tootell spent about 40 years in the ambulance service, finishing his career in Mundubbera before he retired.
Mrs Tootell said her husband joined the ambulance committe not long after their move to the Fraser Coast, and had not looked back.
"It was just a job that he loved," she said.
"I think it was just that he cared for people."
Mr Tootell's passion for the ambulance service had been recognised and in late November last year he received the latest in a long line of medals - the Distinguished Service Medal.
In the weeks before his death, Mr Tootell had been fighting to have the Hervey Bay Ambulance Station upgraded to accomodate growing staff numbers.
Mrs Tootell also showed the Chronicle letters from the Queen and Governor-General congratulating them on their 60th wedding anniversary, which was to take place in about two weeks.
Mr Tootell died after two weeks in hospital with viral pneumonia.
Mrs Tootell said the family would like to thank staff at the Hervey Bay Hospital Intensive Care Unit and the Queensland Ambulance Service paramedics who cared for Mr Tootell.