Paramedic remembered as kind-hearted soul
AS THE Mackay community gathered to farewell a hero paramedic, a mother simply grieved the loss of her son.
Mary McCulloch's voice shook as she addressed a crowd of mourners yesterday at St Joseph's Catholic Church.
"I will always remember my beautiful baby boy, who grew into a beautiful man and who always loved his mum," she said.
Craig McCulloch died on January 28 when the ambulance he was driving rolled and hit a tree on the Mackay-Eungella Road at Benholme, about 50km west of Mackay.
Despite the best efforts of bystanders and responding emergency services crews, who were Mr McCulloch's colleagues and friends, the 32 year old died at the scene.
"You've turned out today to honour a man you have called a hero, a great paramedic, a larrikin whose joy was infectious and whose death (was) devastat(ing)," she said.
"I am here to honour a son."
Ms McCulloch described her son as spontaneous, kind-hearted and stubborn to a fault.
She described Craig telling her the story of a patient had left him humbled and brought her "tough" son to tears.
"I never heard the good stories from Craig, about the lives he saved or helped save. I suppose to tell me about them would have been bragging, something he has never done," she said.
"I am hearing them now. I am hearing about the beautiful man that I thought only his family and close friends knew.
"But he was very much out there in the community doing the things that he did for his mother -trying to do the right thing, trying to make people happy."
Reflecting on her son's life, Ms McCulloch said he would have hated the attention his untimely death had garnered.
"He would have hated all this fuss," she said.
"He hated being the centre of attention. But he didn't realise that by just being who he was and doing what he did, he was always the centre of attention."
Mr McCulloch's partner of 11 years Heather Ball spoke also at the service. Stifling her tears, Ms Ball took a moment to thank Mr McCulloch's co-workers for their kind words following his death.
"I have been heartened by all the messages I received from QAS members who shared stories of Craig and relayed to me how important his children and I were to him," she said.
"At this time I am very appreciative that we were part of his life for 11 years and he will forever be in our hearts."
As the service progressed, those in attendance laughed at memories of Mr McCulloch's life and wiped away tears as they thought of his memory.
Nothing elicited more tears than Ms McCulloch's heart felt message to the paramedics who responded to Mr McCulloch's accident.
"To the first responders who went to help Craig, I know if there was a chance for him you gave it to him," she said.
"Thankyou for just doing your job. To the two beautiful people that stayed with him and held his hand until paramedics arrived and did what you could to give him a chance - for a mother it is infinitely comforting to know he was never alone."