News / London

London paramedics answer the call overseas

A team of London first-responders are spending the next month in Cambodia in hopes of creating a better life for people living in remote parts of the country.

Paramedics Neil Jones and Julie Colgan, along with firefighter Patrick Bradley, arrived in the Southeast Asian country Thursday, along with a team of about 15 others.

The group will spend the majority of its time building water-purification systems for households and schools along with providing advanced first-aid training to people who scour the countryside in search of active landmines.

Many of the participants - organized through a Toronto non-profit - are making their first visit to Cambodia but have years of experience in humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

Jones, for example, was dispatched to Pakistan in September 2010 for flood relief and spent two weeks last year in Libya. The work, he said, "puts life into perspective."

"When you go to these places, it just becomes so apparent that we live like kings every day, all day," said Jones, 41.

A paramedic for 18 years, he still tears up thinking about the baby who died in his arms during the 2010 mission trip. On the same day, he helped save a woman dying from dehydration.

"(Her family) walked three hours to say thank you," Jones said. "You see the smile on people's faces and that keeps you going."

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