Half a lifetime ago George Mutton wanted to be a mechanic.
But after spending time in hospital following a motorcycle crash, the St Clair resident found a passion for medicine.
On July 7, Mr Mutton called time on a 36-year career as a paramedic – 29 of those years spent at Tregear Ambulance Station.
“Knowing it was my last shift was very surreal. It was hard to get my head around,” the 60-year-old said.
“In September it would have been 37 years in the job.”
Mr Mutton had been a nurse but admitted he didn’t grab his opportunity. It was while working at a factory in 1980 that his life changed forever.
“I saw an accident outside of work,” he said. “I was the first-aid officer so I went out and did some of the bandaging.
“I think deep down I was just wasting my life working in this factory. The paramedics arrived and I watched them go to work. I knew that was what I wanted to do.”
Having spent more than half his life working 15 hour days, sometimes without a break, retirement poses a huge change of pace for Mr Mutton.
Over the years he helped deliver 22 babies – with one possibly being named in his honour.
“My partner at the time and I were both named George so we’re still arguing over who the baby was named after,” he said.
He described the station at Tregear as a “home away from home”.
“I’ve got one regret about going there, that I didn’t do it sooner,” he said. “It was like a big family. I couldn’t have asked for a better job.”
Mr Mutton said techniques had come a long way since when he started out at Auburn all those years ago.
Reminiscing on his career, one job in particular sticks out in his mind.
A young girl was fighting for her life after an asthma attack, but he hadn’t progressed far enough in his training to do more than stabilise her.
“When I was offered to opportunity to advance, I jumped at it,” he said.
“The first job I got when I finished training was an eight-year-old kid who had passed out from an asthma attack. I gave him a shot of adrenaline, he woke up in one minute. It made me feel like I made a difference.”