THE CORE TEAM
OUR CORE TEAM
We are a team of passionate professionals...and friends.
Nathan Burns, Founder
Nath has spent the majority of his adult life on the road and in the outdoors, either travelling, guiding expeditions or working in Outdoor Education. Somewhere along the line he decided a change of career was needed and he became a Paramedic- working in metro, rural and austere settings for the past 10+ years. He has led countless volunteer trips to Nepal (including the 2015 DRG Earthquake Response) and deployed to Bangladesh in 2017.
He holds university degrees in Paramedicine and Journalism and has formal training in Major Incident Management, Burns Assessment and Advanced Wilderness Life Support. As a life-long surfer, he is most at home in the ocean, however he can be lured onto dry land for a really good coffee, to spend time in his woodworking studio, or to hang out with his amazing wife and daughter.
Brad Stewart, Operations Manager
Brad has been running operations for Backpacker Medics since 2014, organising everything from rural volunteer medical programs, community rescue teams, disaster responses and humanitarian emergency responses. Brad has a military, fire, rescue and healthcare background and has worked in some unique and interesting places such as Zambia, East Timor, South Africa, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Brad enjoys expeditions, photography (learning), and travel, and is currently living in Indonesia with his partner and children. Brad is a qualified paramedic with a Bachelor of Paramedic Practice and numerous rescue qualifications.
Andrew Strunk, Logistics Manager
Andrew, better known as ‘Strunky’ has spent his entire working career in the services, first with the Army and now as a Firefighter based in Fremantle, WA. He has over a decade of experience in Fire and Rescue and across a broad range of emergency response fields. Andrew has been looking after the rescue and logistics side of Backpacker Medics since the development of the Disaster Response Group in 2015 and deployed with the DRG during both the Nepal Earthquake response, the Bangladesh Rohingya Refugee response and the Sulawesi Earthquake. When not working, Andrew is an avid traveler, exploring his way across all continents on the globe except Antarctica (expedition pending) climbing, hiking, and surfing. Andrew has previous work experience with the Army and multiple NGOs in Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Anthony Gadenne, Disaster Response Group Manager
Anthony is a qualified paramedic that gravitated to BPM after 20 years with the Australian Special Forces where he served in a number of capacities ranging from Special Operation Task Group deployments in combat roles to training and development positions. He was part of the water operations counter-terrorism team for the Sydney 2000 Olympics which included tactical diving in the Bass Strait and working with air-sea assets and submarine capabilities around the country. Anthony has recently completed a medical degree and when he’s not studying spends every spare moment in the outdoors.
Carrie Burns, Committee Member
Carrie’s involvement with Backpacker Medics began in 2013. Since then, she has spent countless hours squished between sweaty blokes in the back of a ute, covered in dust, delivering medical assistance to villagers of the 2015 Nepal earthquake - not to mention numerous other humanitarian visits to Nepal with BPM. As a paramedic, she has worked in both metro and rural settings throughout Perth and Tasmania, the latter which she now calls home. She can’t wait to explore the world with their baby daughter.
Nat Crewe, Wellbeing Officer
Prior to growing up and finally getting a degree in Paramedical science, Nat has tried his hand at television graphic design, TV chef, cowboy and kitesurf instructor. But for the last 13 years he has been a paramedic on the metro ambulance, industrial medic, television medic and rescue medic. He's also working his way towards a Masters in Counselling. Nat has been a member of Backpacker Medics since 2015 and has made a number of trips out to Nepal, including as part of the team that responded to the 2015 Nepal earthquake, which saw the birth of the DRG. Nat deployed to Bangladesh in 2017 as a Team Leader.
Alex Galonski, Recruitment Manager
Alex currently sits on BPM's key leadership committee, assisting the organization with logistics, training and recruitment. He has been with BPM for 3 years, deploying to Bangladesh and Sulawesi.
At present, Alex is employed as a career Firefighter with WA's state Fire and Emergency Service. Prior to this, he was in the Australian Army for a decade with deployments on peacekeeping, mentoring and war-fighting operations.
When Alex isn't working, he spends his spare time rockclimbing, training or studying international relations.
Joe Knight, Training Manager
Joe found his passion for helping others very early in life through joining the Royal Australian Navy, were he served as a medic and was discharged honourably with a Maritime Commander Australia Commendation whilst serving in South East Asia. Joe is now a professional waterman as well as a medic, nutrition and lifestyle consultant and a renowned trainer and coach specialising in personal development.
Joe runs a watermanship training organisation called One Ocean International, works as a medic supporting various professional entities and is currently upgrading his diploma of paramedical science to a degree.
When Joe is not working, he is an avid traveller, completing sailing expeditions throughout the Caribbean as well as the Pacific and backpacking through countries such as Central America, Egypt, UAE, Asia, Pacific Islands, Indonesia and Melanesia.
Jennie Chesters, Committee Member
Jennie is a qualified Paramedic and has worked for several state ambulance services. Jennie first deployed with Backpacker Medics in 2015, deploying to Nepal to provide medical care and training local people to form the Kerasawara Rescue Team training group. She joined the DRG in 2018, responding to the 2018 Sulawesi Earthquake. Jennie now works in disaster management and deployments in Australia, deploying to events such as the Townsville floods, Black Summer Bushfires and COVID-19 response. Jennie also volunteers for Ambulance Wish Queensland, creating wish experiences for people living with a terminal illness. In her spare time Jennie can be found travelling, or planning her next backpacking adventure.