Neill Wallace centre with a group of work colleagues after completing his last shift
Dungloe ambulance driver Neil Glackin has worked his last shift as the local ambulance driver in Dungloe.
Neil, from Meenamara outside Dungloe, completed his last shift last Sunday morning week after 34 years service as driver at the local ambulance station.
The first 13 of those years was as a relief driver and for the last 21 years the popular Neil has worked as a full time driver and for the bulk of those as a paramedic.
“When I started first I was a relief driver on a zero hours contract. You only got paid for the runs you did,”Neil told the Democrat.
“Peadar Quinn and John Glackin were the drivers when I started and I did holiday relief for Peadar and John when they were off on holidays or on sick leave.
“I did shifts in Killybeg and Donegal Town too from time to time when the need arose but mostly in Dungloe.”
The Dungloe Station covered in the main the Rosses, Gaoth Dobhair, Cloughaneely and the Gaeltacht Lár. Neil initially worked as just a driver but later trained as an initially and emergency medical technician and later a paramedic.
And in his 34 years Neil has seen many changes and by and large they are all good. The first big change came in 1991.
“In 1991, Dungloe became the first rural station to get an advisory defibrillator. They had manual defibrillators in the cities and big towns but Dungloe was the first to get a defibrillator that you what to do.
“That was down to the great work of Dr Peter Sweeney, John Glackin, Cllr Freddie Coll and Sean Duffy, the chief ambulance officer in the Northwest at the time. A special local committee was set up to pay for it.”
A presentation was made to Neil after completing his last shift by his work colleagues. A formal presentation function is being held next month.