St. John Ambulance: Enhancing Health, Safety and Quality of Life

St. John Ambulance: Enhancing Health, Safety and Quality of Life

A Chat with Tony Lea, Executive Director St. John Ambulance, Kitchener-Waterloo Branch

Tell us why St. John Ambulance is such an important part of so many communities around the world.

St. John Ambulance is so important in the Commonwealth Countries around the World and the U.S. because of our Mission, which is to ‘Enhance Health, Safety and Quality of Life’; for as we all know, without Health and Safety, there is no quality of life. We accomplish our Mission by providing a vast array of Training and Volunteer Programmes.

First Aid CPR AED course instructors St. John Ambulance Kitchener Waterloo

St. John Ambulance First Aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) courses are taught by highly trained and monitored instructors

Mark Drewe

How has St. John Ambulance changed over the years to meet the needs of society, both internationally and locally?

We have adapted and changed to meet the needs of our differing communities. For example, in Jerusalem, St. John had founded an Eye Hospital. The hospital is the only charity offering expert eye care to the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Their goal is to eliminate preventable blindness in the region. In 2013, the hospital group treated 114,152 patients (37,157 under the age of 18) in outpatient departments, regardless of race, religion or ability to pay.

Locally, our Training now includes such programmes as First Aid/CPR/AED/Home Alone/Babysitting/Pet First Aid/Mental Health First Aid and more recently a New Parent Workshop. Our Community Service programmes have also expanded from the original Medical First Aid to include others such as Therapy Dog, Emergency Response and Home Caregiver Support.

Therapy Dogs St. John Ambulance retirement residences seniors patients hospitals school children university students

St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs bring comfort to seniors, hospital patients, school children and university students


What drew you to St. John Ambulance?

The Mission of St. John Ambulance drew me to St. John. I was lucky to be a very unhealthy child – double pneumonia and Polio and therefore value being healthy. My degrees are in Physical Education and I have a regular and sustained personal Health Programme.

Does one achievement at your Branch and/or District stand out for you more than the others? If there is more than one please tell us about them.


• The Waterloo Marathon and being the Race Director for nearly 20 years;

• The Emergency Response Team; and,

The Home Caregiver Support Programme.

The Queen is the Head of the Order of St. John and I have been very fortunate to be recognized for my achievements by receiving two Jubilee Medals and becoming a Commander in the Order.

What does St. John Ambulance do in the Kitchener-Waterloo community?

Our volunteers provide a ‘Cradle to Grave’ service to our community. Our Training Programmes help people save lives at Home, Work and Play.

Waterloo Marathon St. John Ambulance Kitchener Waterloo

Volunteer Medical First Responders at Waterloo Marathon, the major fundraiser for St. John Ambulance

Brett Nelson

How can people get involved with St. John Ambulance?

• Office: 519.579.6285

• My e-mail:

• Url:

What else would you like people to know?

I have always thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working with such wonderful:

• Volunteers – both Governing and Operational;

• Instructors; and,

• Staff

Thank you for the opportunity.


Tony Lea, Executive Director, St. Johh Ambulance, Kitchener-Waterloo Branch

Tony Lea, Executive Director, St. John Ambulance, Kitchener-Waterloo Branch

Tony Lea CStJ, MA, BEd(Hons)

Executive Director

K-W Branch

St. John Ambulance

250 Gage Avenue