Our staff member being profiled today, comes from a background and life experience that is as colourful, enduring and diverse as he is. Starting out as a Basic Ambulance Assistant (BAA) in the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) field, he recently achieved Command Pilot status on the PC12. Captain Jeffrey Persens, joined the AMS family in December 2012 where he first took up the position of NOC assistant while at the same time being part of the AMS Cadet Pilot Development Programme. Jeffrey’s career has grown in leaps and bounds, here’s a look at his journey …

Tell us about yourself: “I grew up on a farm called Driefontein, situated 30kms outside Ceres. At the age of 12 we moved to Ceres where I completed Matric. I started working as a casual worker at a factory now known as Ceres Fruit Juices, after 6 months I was employed full time in the Quality Control Department, during the last six years of my 10 years there I was in the Blending Department, where you blend and test different flavours in order to produce a quality product. I started my flying career in 2007 in Kimberley after finishing at Ceres Fruit Juices. During my time in Kimberley when AMS was still operational there I always saw the PC 12 flying. My Instructor at the time was a volunteer pilot at Kimberley base. One day he took me to the base and showed me the PC 12. I took a few steps back while looking at it and said …. One day I will fly you! Seems like there is truth in the saying be careful what you proclaim out in the universe, it may just come true. Because look where I am today!”

Were you in any other trade before? “I was in the juice making trade, I was in the lorry driving trade – I drove for Shoprite, Coke. I worked for Netcare while doing my flight training, I drove a tip truck to the mines in Kimberley. I also worked for METRO EMS Tygerberg Base before joining AMS.”

If you could master one skill you don’t have right now, what would it be? To be fluent in English! This English language can be a problem sometimes.”

What do you do in your spare time? “These days it’s watching ENCA! A lekke braai at friends, not the bring and braai kind!”

What might someone be surprised to know about you? “Shoo, I don’t know… I can play guitar to amuse myself while sitting on my stoep.”

What do you enjoy most about your job? “Flying was always something I wanted to do. I love it when the wheels lift from the ground. I attach a lot of sentimental value to AMS. In 2002, my father was involved in an accident in Richmond near Three Sisters. He sustained a lot of internal injuries. It was night time when AMS flew him with the PC 12 from Beaufort West to Cape Town where he underwent operations and unfortunately at a later stage passed away. AMS is very special to me, they fulfilled this emergency need in my personal life. It’s always good to help people and make a difference in their life.”

What is on your bedside table? “My Bible, something I reach for every morning to obtain some wisdom from the wise Solomon – before having my morning coffee.” 

If you could have dinner with five famous people from history, who would they be? “I’m not into famous people, but I would definitely want to have dinner with my father, my grandmother and grandfather from my mother’s side. And my father’s biological father.”

When your friends/family find out what you do, what do they say or ask? “Most people don’t know about AMS, but when I tell them what we do they are surprisingly impressed. Some people still think I’m a medic.”

What has been the happiest day of your life? “There was a few… The day I got the cadetship at AMS, the day I went to the CEO to get a permanent job in the NOC and when I left the NOC to fly permanently and now obtaining my Captaincy. Quite frankly I cannot think that I have had a bad day at AMS! I am very happy and privileged to be here.”

What is your greatest indulgence? “A cup of coffee and chocolate before bed!”

What is the one thing, you can’t live without? “Someone once said you can’t live without oxygen.”

What is the one quality you feel best describes you? “Probably joker, but I can also be a deep thinker.”

Do you have a life philosophy? “Just live, every day!”

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