Rescue helicopter pilot gets medal
WHEN Michael Kerry was still a teenager all he wanted to do was work for the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.
The Wollongbar man, now 42, said he began volunteering as a rescue crewman when he was 18.
“When I started as a volunteer all the crewmen were volunteers,” Mr Kerry said.
“I was a member of the surf club at Ballina, like most of the guys, and I hung around the helicopter base like a bad smell until I was old enough to help out.”
Mr Kerry’s persistence paid off and in 1992 he was appointed as a full-time member of staff.
He is now also the helicopter’s longest-serving employee and was recently awarded the National Medal for his dedicated service.
Mr Kerry credits his passion for the job as what kept him there for so many years.
“One reason that I’ve stayed so long is because of the enjoyment of the job and the great team environment,” he said. “I still look forward to coming to work each week and I certainly wasn’t expecting to receive this medal.”
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter general manager Kris Beavis congratulated Mr Kerry.
“Mick’s not just a nice guy, he’s also highly dedicated to what he does,” Mr Beavis said.