At approximately 1.30pm on the 15th March 2019, the Christchurch Mosques shootings bought the feared reality of horrific acts of terrorism to the door step of the otherwise typically passive citizenship of New Zealand.
The extreme nature of this incident echoed around the world triggering an outpouring of support and connection both nationally and internationally. First responders directly involved in the incident witnessed horrific scenes and had contact with victims suffering extreme injuries secondary to high velocity trauma. One of those responders was Wally Mitchell.
For more than 40 years, Wally has been involved with St John. From working in Northland, Wally moved into the Canterbury District Operations Manager position in late February 2019, and had been in his role only three weeks prior to the March 15th Mosque terrorist attacks. Based in Christchurch, he assumed command of the St John response to this incident.
Tune in as I speak with Wally about his personal experience as a first responder and the aftercare that was implemented for frontline workers post-attack.