Retired EMS Operator Ivan Koopman honours paramedics in new book

Retired EMS Operator Ivan Koopman. Picture: SUPPLIED

Retired EMS Operator Ivan Koopman. Picture: SUPPLIED

Published Jun 27, 2024


Ivan Koopman, a dedicated author from Bellville in Cape Town, has shared exciting news about his latest book, “Waymaker“.

This book honours the brave men and women who work as emergency medical technicians (EMTs), a group whose hard work and sacrifices often go unnoticed.

As a retired EMS operator, Koopman stressed that first responders never really retire; their commitment to helping others stays with them for life.

“Waymaker” also highlights John Bester, who in 1974 became one of the first coloured men to be made an officer in the Cape Ambulance Rescue Services.

Both Koopman and Bester faced many challenges throughout their careers, but they remained dedicated to providing medical care and comfort to those in need.

Koopman began his career in EMS in 1981, and through this book, he and Bester share their experiences and leave a legacy for future EMTs.

“I’ve decided to write this book as a tribute to the unsung heroes of the ambulance services,” said Koopman.

“This includes the services they provided and the emergency care given to a diverse community. While it’s not a political book, I wanted to give a realistic perspective on the experiences during the apartheid era.”

John Bester and Ivan Koopman. Picture: SUPPLIED

Despite the years that have passed, Koopman admits that some emergencies still haunt him and that writing this book helped him find some relief from those painful memories.

This book is not just a collection of stories; it’s a tribute to the resilience and dedication of EMTs. It aims to inspire and educate future generations, ensuring that the invaluable work of these heroes is never forgotten.

Koopmamn said: “I see us as those who paved the way for the new generation currently working in this field.”

He emphasised that it was not just a career path to follow but a passion, which required empathy towards patients.

“We often worked in dangerous areas and were provoked. It wasn’t always pleasant, yet we kept our composure and dignity wherever we went.”

“Waymaker“ is a powerful reminder of the importance of EMS personnel and the incredible impact they have on the community.

The book launch for “Waymaker“ takes place on Thursday, June 27, at 12 pm at the Ambulance Station in Pinelands where Koopman and many other EMT’s careers began.