‘Rescue 117’, the six-part television series which concluded on RTE One last week, was one of the most compelling pieces of public service broadcasting that Montrose has produced in years.
It gave viewers an unprecedented insight into the priceless contribution which the Search And Rescue (SAR) helicopter service based at Waterford Airport provides for the south east region and beyond.
It also made Minister Noel Dempsey’s suggestion of a reduced 12-hour SAR service from Waterford sound all the more incredulous, demonstrating the astonishing incompetence of the Transport Department’s chief office holder.
But more significantly, it also revealed the superb levels of connectivity that exist between all of our emergency and rescue services, be they professional or voluntary.
Standing in the Rescue 117 hangar on the wet, blustery Friday just passed, SAR crew members, local Coast Guard, the RNLI, Tramore Sea and Cliff Rescue and South East Mountain Rescue were all in attendance.
They were assembled for the presentation of the FBD Hotels/Munster Express Waterford Person of the Year (Q3) award for 2010 to Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, Rescue 117’s Chief Pilot, who accepted the award on behalf of her crew.
The marvellous role which Dara, her fellow crewmen along with all of our local rescue volunteers perform, was aptly articulated by fellow columnist and Awards Ambassador Nichola Beresford.
“Personally, I feel quite inadequate in terms of what I do on daily basis when set against the wonderful service that each and every one of you provide for this community,” she said.
“And I think it’s fair to say that the television series provided a fascinating window into life here at the base, and has served to heighten the importance of the role you play within this region 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
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