ABOUT THE COMMUNITY: The Lismore-based Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter general manager Kris Beavis.
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY: The Lismore-based Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter general manager Kris Beavis. Mark Stapelberg

RescUe Day: Your turn to rescue the Westpac chopper

PLUNGING out of helicopters on a rope in order to save people's lives is an everyday reality for the team at the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service, who are now asking for a little rescuing themselves.

The "ambulance of the skies" is putting the "U" into the rescue by re-branding its annual fundraising day to RescUe Day.

The service's fundraising manager, Zeke Huish, explained: "Rescues can come in many forms, be it a hospital transfer or saving someone from a sinking boat.

"The service is on standby 24 hours a day to serve the community and on RescUe Day we are looking to highlight that there is no 'RESCUE' without 'U' and just how vital donation support is to help us to continue saving lives across the region.

"Last financial year we performed over 400 missions, and as a local charity that relies on community support to help fundraise over $4 million each year, we invite everyone to be part of the RescUe Day fun and give their support."

So today, on RescUe Day, a simple donation in the envelopes inserted into The Northern Star can make a huge difference to someone's life, or mean the difference between life and death.

General manager of the service Kris Beavis said it was stunning just how much the parts cost on the aircraft.

"But that's the background noise to what we're really about," said Kris.

"Regardless of how someone got themselves into a circumstance, if we're able to intervene and provide a better outcome for that individual and by that ripple effect, the whole family or their whole community even, that's such a positive experience for everyone here.

"We do need our community, we've come from the community and we're there for the community but we do recognise that every day we're chasing the dime and making sure that our community doesn't take us for granted."

Kris said the worst possible scenario was that people might take the view that the helicopters would always be there.

"We'd probably ask people to refocus and think about what would happen if the helicopter wasn't there and that's probably the strongest message that we can give to anyone. Please don't take us for granted."

AUSTRALIAN Ironman and dual Olympian, Ky Hurst will be making a special appearance at the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service's annual Open Day this Saturday August 15. The Open Day is full of fun activities for the whole family including winch rides, face painting, a jumping castle for kids as well as NBN Big Dog and an NRL pass the ball promotion.

Ky is the program ambassador for the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Schools Program, which forms part of Westpac's continued support of the service and provides an educational resource designed to teach Australian primary school students the importance of not-for-profit emergency services to their local community.

As a father himself, Ky is passionate about this education for children and in particular, about the life saving work performed by the rescue helicopters.

Ky's list of achievements include being the youngest contender in the Uncle Toby's Super series, winning three titles consecutively at the age of 15, winning 30 Australian Surf titles making him the second highest medal winner in Surf Lifesaving's Hall of Fame and competing in the 1998 World Aquatics Championships, 2008 Summer Olympics and 2012 London Olympics.

For your chance to meet Ky and the pilots and crew of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter, visit their Open Day being held at the helibase, 60 Brunswick Street Lismore, gates open from 9.30am to 1.30pm.


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