Former Gladstone ambo honoured on 100th birthday
FORMER ambulance officer Les Merker didn't take a single sick day.
His nephew, Ron Jnr, had some good stories to tell about the local legend on his 100th birthday.
Mr Merker served as an ambulance officer for 48 years, alongside his brother and Ron Jnr's father, Ron Merker.
"Uncle Les began his career at Dayboro in 1937 and later worked at Gladstone, Boonah, Childers and the service's Brisbane headquarters before retiring," Ron jnr said.
"Both Les and dad were absolute legends and growing up I looked up to them as local heroes. After all, they did save lives, probably hundreds."
Ron jnr said back then being a paramedic was a rough job.
"Les was a paramedic and the driver. (It was) pretty much a one-man job," he said. "He attended accidents, delivered 23 babies.... really whatever came along.
"He didn't have kids so his work was his life. He was the boss."
On his birthday Les was able to get behind the wheel of an historic ambulance vehicle; similar to some of those he and his colleagues used in years gone by.
Assistant commissioner Gavin Trembath and heritage and history manager Mick Davis presented Les with a plaque. family and friends were with him.
"Today we celebrate an extraordinary milestone for an extraordinary man. On behalf of the service, we thank Les for his efforts and look to him as an inspiration."
He now lives in respite care on the Sunshine Coast.