For many years Dianne Trethowen fielded health queries while shopping at the Tūrangi supermarket.
She couldn't help it, people would approach her with a query about a loved one and she would always oblige.
The Tūwharetoa St John member of 55 years says she experienced half a century of people being reluctant to ask for medical help because they didn't want to be a nuisance.
"My view is you're not a nuisance if you ask for help before it gets worse," Dianne said.
Dianne joined the Order of St John as a youth member when she was 10 years old, while living at Ātiamuri.
"You were meant to be 11 to join, but they let me."
Two years later her father, Buster Osborne, got a job as a tunneller on the hydropower scheme and in 1963 the family moved to Tūrangi.
Dianne married Kerry Trethowen in 1970 and worked as the bookkeeper in Kerry and Bob McCarthy's panel beating shop.
In her 55 years with St John, Dianne worked as a volunteer, initially training as a youth member, progressing to youth leader and then she was in charge of leaders at other ambulance centres.
As an adult she become an Officer Sister and was promoted to Serving Sister in 1984, a rare honour and only given to those who prove their dedication and commitment.
She held the position of superintendent for six years and then later became staff officer responsible for ambulance divisions in Taumarunui, Taupō, Benneydale, Mangakino and Tūrangi.
She finished her instructor training in 1984 and teaching other ambulance staff became a hallmark of her career.
She completed her helicopter training and recalls the days before helicopters when Desert Rd accident victims had to be driven on long bumpy roads to Taumarunui Hospital.
"The helicopters are magic. In the pitch black when you see the helicopter searchlights, you think 'now we are safe'."
Kerry said he and Dianne had got through some horrific accidents on Desert Rd.
"Dianne would be there in the ambulance. I would be there with my tow truck, and my business partner Bob McCarthy would be there with the fire brigade.
"We would all be at the accident and our apprentice, Paul Newton, would look after the panel beating shop."
Before mobile phones, Dianne said people would ring to say there had been an accident on Desert Rd, but they wouldn't know exactly where they were. So an ambulance would be sent from Waiouru as well.
"You would come to expect a road accident on the Desert Rd on a long weekend, and especially when it rains. People continue to drive too fast and slide off the road," Kerry said.
Dianne says in modern times, the work she did as a volunteer ambulance officer is now done by a paramedic.
"For years I was the ambulance officer in the back with the patient, because women weren't allowed to drive the ambulance. I didn't care, I would rather have been in the back."
Dianne says many callouts related to existing medical conditions, and Kerry said over the past 50 years there are not many homes in Tūrangi where Dianne hasn't been into.
"Lots of Ministry of Works people knew each other from previous villages and I was known as Buster's daughter. It was a relief for people to know who I was," Dianne said.
Kerry said Dianne was so well known that he eventually refused to go with her to the supermarket because she spent so much time talking.
"People would come up to her and say 'my relative is unwell, what do you think I should do?"
Dianne has been abused by stressed relatives while treating patients, and she has learned to do some "peacemaking".
"My dad would say when they start swearing you say 'haven't you got a word I haven't heard?' and often that would stop them."
Other times Dianne would call Kerry to help carry an overweight person into the ambulance. She says these days the ambulance officers would ask the fire officers to help.
"I got to know the police force, they are my buddies. I can pop into the police station for a coffee any time. And the ambulance station, and the fire station."
Dianne and Kerry both say the community spirit in Tūrangi is as strong as ever.
"People have that working together philosophy and that is so important."
In a few weeks time, the Trethowens are moving to Hamilton, to be closer to their son Jason and two grandsons.
There's a Mark II Zephyr waiting for Kerry, and Dianne says after settling in, she might volunteer with Age Concern.