Emergency crews farewell 'Mick'
A SMALL group of helicopter paramedics, ambulance officers and helicopter crew gathered at the Northern Region Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter base on Brunswick St, Lismore, yesterday morning to honour Michael "Mick" Wilson, the special casualty access team (SCAT) paramedic who died in a winching accident at Kangaroo Valley on Christmas Eve.
The service, conducted by Rev. Graeme Davis, was held at the same time as a special requiem mass for Mick Wilson at St James Church in Sydney.
No sooner had the touching ceremony ended, than the helicopter was called out to attend a motor vehicle accident in Byron Shire.
Jumping on board was SCAT paramedic Steve Goulding, of Lismore, who had worked with Mr Wilson in Sydney. "Mick was part of an intensive care crew that attended a terrible accident in Sydney, in which there were people trapped in a vehicle," Mr Goulding recalled.
"I was there too, and was struck by how he went about his business as a paramedic and didn't try to take over or push us out of the way.
"He was to be one of many influences I was guided by. He was quietly assured - a methodical clinician."
Mr Goulding said Mick Wilson's death was "a huge loss to the ambulance service".
"He paid the ultimate sacrifice, serving others. Being a SCAT paramedic is a selfless role, even for us guys who work in Lismore," Mr Goulding said.
"Especially on the winch. You know if something goes wrong, you're the first guy who'll be sacrificed for the good of another."
Mr Wilson, a 41-year old father of three, was killed when his winch line had to be cut, after he slammed into a cliff face while rescuing an injured canyoner.
During the service, Rev. Graeme Davis said "Mick was just a damn fine guy".
"Working in the ambulance service we all know our grip on life is so fragile. We're surrounded by death and trauma but when it's the death of a workmate, that's a different thing."