IntlSOS 30 Years - From East to West - Page 56



International SOS | From East to West
The games further helped us
build our reputation with both
clients and the government.
— John Williams
As well as emergency assistance, we helped our
corporate clients with broader primary and
occupational health support and emergency
preparation. Our service offering included carrying
out security surveys, ensuring all operations were
compliant with local regulations, checking fire
safety, health and safety and evacuation procedures,
plus full crisis management and scenario training.
The games were a great success and so was our part
in them. In the month of August 2008 we managed
5,353 clinic visits and 7,402 calls to the Assistance
Centre. We handled 1,691 cases, twice as many as
normal. Some of these were high profile cases and
involved us working closely with the relevant
authorities. In one case a US citizen who been
stabbed needed to be returned to the US. The case
received high media attention. The Mayor of Beijing
contacted us to find out how long it would take to
get clearance for the patient. When we told him
we already had it he was genuinely amazed.
Above: International SOS banner
from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Right: Beijing, July 2003. Arnaud
Vaissié, John Williams and Dr Zhang
Xizeng (just retired as Director of the
Beijing Red Cross at the time of this
picture), meeting with Mr Wang Wei,
Head of the Beijing Olympic bid
team. We presented our credentials
to support the 2008 Beijing Olympics
together with our partners at the
Beijing Red Cross Society.
48
It was a busy time and as John Williams explains:
“Our success was due to hard work and having the
right infrastructure. We had 20 years experience in
China, with an established network of providers and
solid relationships with both local authorities and
national government. The games further helped us
build our reputation – with both clients and the
government – as the leading provider of integrated
medical and security solutions.”
The games did bring their lighter moments too.
John was an official torch bearer. As he was born
in the Year of the Dragon and is Welsh, John carried
a Welsh flag, complete with Welsh dragon, the
dragon being his special connection to China.
He described that day as “a once in a lifetime
experience”. Mui Huat Tan was also chosen to carry
the torch. He spent hours in preparation, carrying
the torch just a short distance, but he too truly
enjoyed the moment, calling it “a very great
honour and well worth all that practice”.

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