Helicopter helpers honoured
Local woman Betty Reynolds was last week recognised for her long-term service to Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter, while staff at Ritchies Supa IGA in Ballina were presented with a thank you certificate after the supermarket’s community benefits scheme – where one per cent of each sale is directed to a nominated charity – has now topped $100,000 in donations for the lifesaving service.
At a gathering of almost 170 Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter volunteers from all over northern NSW, Betty Reynolds was presented with her 20-year service badge.
The presentation was made at the helicopter volunteers’ Christmas lunch at the Lismore Helibase. In all, 80 badges were presented, ranging from five years service to 25 years service.
Mrs Reynolds said she was devoted to the rescue helicopter because it played an important part in saving lives of people ill and injured on the Northern Rivers.
“I started volunteering for the rescue helicopter because I lived next door to the chief pilot at the time and I knew the then general manager, Perry Wells,” Mrs Reynolds said.
“I continue to volunteer because I love it and it’s important for the community to have the helicopter remain here in the northern region.”
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter general manager Kris Beavis said the rescue helicopter service would struggle to exist if it wasn’t for the on-going support of the hundreds of volunteers from across the helicopter’s flight area.
Two other Ballina volunteers also received long-service awards. Vera Stalker received her 10-year badge and Sharon Cadwallader received her five-year badge.
Meanwhile, Ballina residents who shop at Ritchies Supa IGA at Ballina Central also have shown their support for the helicopter rescue service.
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter is one of Ritchies most commonly-nominated charities.
Recently, donations received by the rescue helicopter through the Community Benefits Scheme topped $101,000 – an amazing effort by Ritchies and its customers.
Mr Beavis said the support of Ritchies would help saves lives right across northern NSW.
“Let me put this into perspective: at an average cost of $5000 per mission, the support we’ve received from Ritchies and its customers so far could potentially save 20 people’s lives,” he said.