St. John Ambulance Newsletter contains updates on our community services, organization and volunteers. We invite you to discover what St. John Ambulance has to offer you!
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We are excited to present the first Issue of Vital Signs! This monthly newsletter will feature stories from volunteers, instructors, and events related to St. John Ambulance. Please remember to share our newsletter to help us reach more individuals.

If you have input and would like to share it with us, please send us a message at or email us at

Watch out for contests and events in upcoming issues!



St. John Saskatchewan CEO Kevin Moore helping save a gull caught in garbage in the Main Bar area while cleaning up at Craven to raise money for our Therapy Dog Program.

Medical First Responder volunteer Melanie Jackson, aided in the Cumberland House evacuation during the flooding that took place this Summer. 

St. John Ambulance presented fourteen awards at a ceremony in North Battleford on August 28th. Alyssa Sutton (left) and her Dog Priscilla were presented the Diamond Jubilee Medal. RCMP Cst. Peter David Chandler (right) was presented St. John Ambulance Canada's highest honour, the Gold Life-Saving Award. 

Instructor of the Month

Wilf Boychuck - Prince Albert Instructor

“It’s very simple, as long as you know how"

By: Kelly Pollock

Wilf Boychuk is a St. John Ambulance Saskatchewan instructor with 43 years of service as a First Aid / CPR Instructor at the Prince Albert Training Centre.  Kelly Pollock, Prince Albert Training Centre Manager, interviewed Wilf about his time as an instructor with St. John. 

Wilf is proud to have been a part of the St. John Ambulance Instructing team for those years and yet is very humble about his contributions to our organization.

Wilf began with SJA as an instructor in 1969 under the mentorship of John Beauchamps at Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting Company. He received his initial instructor status through St. John Manitoba Council and six years later certified with St. John Saskatchewan Council. For 33 years, Wilf worked as a safety technician and taught fellow employees at the mining company. Wilf also instructed CPR/ First Aid for Northlands College and various other community groups. 

During his time as an instructor he lived in Creighton where he raised a family of four daughters, served on town council for 31 years and was Mayor for nine of those years.  Upon retirement from City Council in 2004, Wilf moved to Hudson Bay.  He remains certified as an instructor with SJA, but is contemplating retirement.

When asked about the positive impact that instructing first aid courses has had on his life, Wilf warmly sighed and reflected:

 “I really enjoy instructing… because over the years I have met so many good people during classes. Many people have come back and told their stories of how and what they learn in class has helped them to save someone’s life. I am thankful for the opportunities I have had while mining, being a part of the instructional team for first aid competitions and mock disasters come to mind. These experiences have provided me with additional knowledge and skills that assisted me as an instructor.  But, most of all, I loved to do anything that would help to contribute to saving a life – my motto when teaching throughout my career was it’s very simple, as long as you know how."

Wilf has been a champion for St. John Ambulance.  He has consistently applied the principles of respect and integrity to everyone he has encountered during his time with St. John Ambulance.

St John Ambulance thanks Wilf, for 44 years of outstanding service and making a real tangible difference in people’s lives.

Forward to Friend

PAWsitive Beginning

By: Colleen Dell

Hello! My name is Colleen Dell and I am a professor at the University of Saskatchewan. I started this year as a volunteer with the Pet Therapy Services program at St. John Ambulance, alongside my teammates Subie (Boxer) and Anna-Belle (Bulldog). 

In my day job I study healing from addictions, including the role animals may have in this. I know that animals have been an important part of my own life, and want to better understand the therapeutic power of the animal human bond.  However, I personally find it difficult to research any topic if I don’t have a hands-on understanding of it!

So Anna-Belle, Subie and I became certified with the Pet Therapy Services program in March, and have since been out and about visiting for more than 60 hours. We go to the Brightwater Senior Living Centre, the Calder Addictions Treatment Centre and the University of Saskatchewan during special events. There are a few key things I have learned so far. 

First, dogs are natural communicators. I just know they are ‘speaking’ with the people they visit. My favorite moment so far was the unspoken communication that happened between Subie and a client at the Calder Centre that could not hear or speak. In fact, when I was with them, it felt as though I was watching a back and forth conversation.

Second, dogs offer unconditional love. It is as simple as that. This is a very special picture of Anna-Belle offering her support to a resident she has come to enjoy spending time with at the Brightwater Centre. Pictures really do tell a story!

Since March I have been in a reverse role—instead of being the teacher in the university classroom, Anna-Belle, Subie and everyone we visit have been teaching me in the classroom of life how therapeutic the relationship between animals and humans can be. In fact, I am learning so much that Anna-Belle posts about our adventures each day on Facebook at: Check it out and add to it if you like!

In a few months I hope to have a clearer picture of what my research focus will be. And until then, I am grateful to be learning from two very humble, patient and endearing four-legged teachers. 

Volunteer Q & A

Volunteer: Barry Zitaruk
Years Volunteering with St. John Ambulance: 2

How did you begin volunteering with St. John Ambulance?

I have been volunteering all of my life. I started as a volunteer firefighter and later became a volunteer for ambulance services. I have also volunteered my time with victim services through the health district and public safety.

Through volunteering you develop just as much experience and learn as much as you would at a paid job.

When I began working ambulance in 1980, the only training that was recognized was training done through St. John Ambulance. St. John training was seen as the highest quality standard for the work that was required on ambulances. This was all before the EMT program came into play.

Do you have any rescues that really stand out in your mind that you would like to share?

I try not to dwell on any one rescue. I prefer to package them and put them away. In general, people appreciate the care that you give. They appreciate the professional care and the willingness of volunteers to provide a service that most people get paid to do.

With being a St. John volunteer, I am happy with the fact that the money donated, or generated through training is going to a great non-profit organization. I know that these donations are being used to provide high quality service.

You are also an instructor for St. John, can you share your experiences with teaching?

The greatest experience is watching a student’s development from the first day. Their skills improve, their confidence improves, and just watching this improvement is so fulfilling. It doesn’t matter if it is a two day course or a two week course; you always see amazing improvement within the students.

Even after the course is over, students will still come to you with other problems and questions and being able to help them is a very good feeling. Making them happy makes you happy. You can teach something that people actually appreciate because they can remember it years later. It makes you feel great about what you are doing.

Teaching, as well as learning, is life-long. Your nose is always in the book. You look for updated information and are always focused on the trade. But even with all of the advanced learning and teaching that I do, I need to remind myself and others to always bring it back to the basics. Don’t forget the basics as they are so important. The more advanced knowledge people or students collect, the more they begin to forget their basic assessments and treatments. These things are sometimes the most important parts of First Aid.

Do you have any ‘words of wisdom’ for people who are considering volunteering?

Volunteering is a personal choice. It is something I have been doing for my entire life. There are some people who are willing, and some who expect something from volunteering. St. John is good with offering appreciation days as well as gifts, but what you really need is the feeling from the people that you are treating. As long as I am improving a person’s worst day of their life, I am a happy camper.

Another tip is to not to start volunteering in expectation of big duties (rock concerts and big events); you have to help with the little duties as well. Even at the larger duties you may be too busy to participate in the actual event because you are helping out the attendees.  

I became familiar with the MFR program through other work that I had done as an EMT and a volunteer firefighter. I would attend events such as Craven as a firefighter and build relationships with others who volunteered with St. John. Through these relationships, I became a volunteer with St. John. When I decided I wanted to teach first aid training, St. John was my choice because of the relationships I had previously built with the volunteers, and with the organization itself.

Why do you choose to volunteer with St. John Ambulance?

I volunteer because of the fact that I am giving back to the community and that I can provide a service that I have been weltering all of my life. At the various events that we attend, people are glad to see that we, St. John, are the first aid providers. A few years ago when attending the Shrine Circus, the organizers were more comfortable and glad to know that we were there to provide them first aid.

People notice that we are there; they know we are there to work hard, and they notice that we are willing and want to take care of people.
I volunteer because of the camaraderie that develops over time and also the friendships.

Are you an SJA volunteer? Share your stories today!
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