Peta Sinclair with her grandchild, Alexander.

Peta Sinclair lives and breathes the small town of Leeton.

Up until her retirement in December, she worked there as a paramedic for 25 years.

But her efforts in supporting her community extend far beyond being a paramedic, which was acknowledged by locals last month.

After retiring, there was another major announcement involving Peta when she was named Australia Day Citizen of the Year 2022 for Leeton Shire.

While her dedicated, compassionate work as a paramedic formed part of the reason she earned this title, it was largely due to her work in the community while not wearing her uniform.

Among the many things she has done in a charitable capacity is her involvement with the Leeton Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA), where she also provides up-todate training on CPR, as well as first-aid accreditation.

Peta also dedicates her time to Country Hope and the Riverina Redneck Rally, which raises money to support children with cancer and other life threatening diseases and their families.

She is involved in several mental health support initiatives each year too.

After joining the service 26 years ago Peta – like many of our staff – spent almost all of her career in the one town, where everybody knows each other on a first name basis. She wouldn’t have it any other way.

“You build up a relationship with people even if it’s just because I am familiar to them,” she said.

“Over that time I’ve become the old familiar face to them.”

Asked if she had any memorable stories while working in Leeton, Peta said this: “There have been a lot of funny ones I can’t really talk about because it is a small town and a lot of sad ones I can’t talk about because it is a really small town.”

“But I think the main thing is the privilege of being with someone on what is perhaps the worst day of their life, the last day of their life… or the first day of their life.”

And it’s not just patients and the wider community Peta makes a point of supporting.

Working in a small town, Peta has prioritised being there to give a helping hand to new paramedics who have joined her station and faced isolation from their families at times due to COVID-19.

“During COVID, to have people who came to the town and couldn’t go home, there was nothing they could do about it,” she said.

“So we to try and get them connected by making them included in things.” Following her retirement, Peta hopes to travel more. But, not surprisingly, she will continue her charitable work.