ONE of Coffs Harbour's most respected paramedics has called it a day, handing over his first aid kit after 33 years service.
Stepping into retirement with a big send-off from his work colleagues, Will Gardner and wife Fay say their time will now be dedicated to the grandkids, fishing, travel and bowls.
Described as a true professional in a life-threatening emergency, Will has mentored paramedics in Coffs Harbour, managing a staff of 24 as a station officer.
A badge of honour for any paramedic is said to be the number of babies they have delivered, and in his three decades of service Will has five to his name, including one baby delivered inside a house "who just couldn't wait to get down the stairs into the ambulance."
"Yes, looking back, they are the call-outs that you fondly remember," Will said.
"I know I'll miss the friendship and camaraderie at the station but, yes, I'll also miss the patients too."
Prior to his posting in Coffs Harbour, Will served as paramedic in Tamworth, joining the service in August 1981 after a career as an aviation firefighter.
"I first met Will in 1996 in Coffs Harbour when he was working in the control room of the old ambulance station and I've had many good years working with him since," Inspector Dean Lassau said.
Inspector Mick Mair said that it was people like Will in the service who upheld the public trust in paramedics.