When I joined St John Ambulance Ireland as a member of staff, one of my first contacts in the organisation was Jason Turner. Throughout all my time working in the Operations Department, he had been there as an adviser to me in my work, first of all as deputy director of the operations department, then as director, and then subsequently as a district officer of SJAI.
I remember many occasions when he got me to help him with preparation for the Emergency Medical Technician courses for which he was responsible. He even had me having a go at some of the multiple choice questions. I had not done the course, but he did say that on paper I should be able to pass. He even got me in one Saturday to be a patient for the trainee EMTs.
Since December 2018, following the failure of my kidneys, Jason kept in contact with me wishing me well. In recent months, I became aware that he himself was not well. We messaged every so often via WhatsApp or Facebook. Indeed, the day he died, I had been thinking of him when I was on dialysis and had intended to ring him to speak to him that evening. It was not to be.
Today, I watched his funeral mass online via webcam. I was a bit surprised to see pall bearers from St John Ambulance Ireland given the COVID-19 restrictions that we are all living with, but I am sure they were keeping within the restrictions. At least they were showing civic leadership by wearing face masks while still maintaining the black and white uniform of St John Ambulance.
In due course, I hope to get an address for Jason’s widow, so that I can send her a card.