Paramedics mourn loss of a brave and heroic colleague
IF THERE was one man to have by your side going into an emergency situation, it was Stephen 'Steve' Eggleston.
That is what mate and former paramedic colleague Gavin Brown says.
Mr Eggelston died in Townsville Hospital on Monday after suddenly falling ill.
He was a former Vietnam Veteran who pursued a career with the Queensland Ambulance Service.
Arguably the most notorious part of that career was treating bikies on the scene of the horrific Roundhouse shoot-out between Odin's Warriors and the Outlaws in Mackay in 1997.
It was one of Queensland's most violent bikie shootouts and "one of the most dangerous incidents" Mr Eggelston had been involved in.
He spoke to the Daily Mercury about the incident in October 2013.
"They (bikies) left us alone while we picked up the wounded," he said.
"They said they wouldn't shoot at us... I took them at their word. They were pretty scared... just nervous and apprehensive."
Mr Brown said working alongside Mr Eggleston made him think things would be all right.
"(Attending the Roundhouse job)... that speaks to the courage of the man and what type of guy he was," Mr Brown said.
"His life revolved around community."
The community would be feeling the loss of not only a local paramedic but also a great man, he said.
"The Mackay district has suffered a blow," Mr Brown said.
He was the type of man you could sit down and have a beer and laugh with.
"If you saw Steve in the RSL you could walk up to him and have a beer with him, there was no airs about him."
Mackay area QAS acting chief superintendent Tracey Eastwick said Mr Eggleston had been with the service for 45 years, and based at Sarina since 2011.
"Some of our teams within our communities are quite close," Ms Eastwick said.
"Those who have known and worked alongside him will certainly miss him and are certainly feeling that at the moment."
Mr Eggleston also spent time in Finch Hatton.
"He had a lot to do with the community in Finch Hatton," Ms Eastwick said.
"Significant cases he attended were at the Finch Hatton Gorge for multiple rescues."
Mr Eggleston began his career in Queensland in 1976.
He had also been awarded for his efforts including an Ambulance Service bravery award and National Emergency Medal for sustained service performed in Queensland floods.
"Because he had so much experience he contributed to the coaching and mentoring of younger staff," Ms Eastwick said.
A funeral will be held on Wednesday at 2pm at Ian Phillips Crematorium & Pacific Gardens in Sarina.