Long term coastguard volunteer awarded


Dedicated coastguard volunteer Robb Henry has had his significant contributions to the wider community recognised, taking out the coveted Volunteer of the Year and Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year Awards at the Coastguard Northern Region 2016 Awards of Excellence presentation on 20 September.
“Our strength as the charity saving lives at sea comes from the incredible commitments of our volunteers. Robb is a stellar example of the dedication that the region’s 1,019 volunteers bring to coastguard,” said northern region president Ron Lucca. “These awards of excellence celebrate the achievements of our volunteers and recognise the outstanding commitment they each make, in serving their community.”
Having served with the Coastguard Waiheke unit for 24 years, Robb has been active at almost every volunteer level of coastguard, from crew to rescue vessel skipper, coastguard instructor to committee member. His experience is vast – in the last year alone he has volunteered for over 980 hours with coastguard, participating in dozens of call-outs at all times of day and night, tutoring scores of coastguard volunteers, and participating in the smooth running of the tight Waiheke unit.
The awards this year recognised Robb’s leadership of the coastguard training exercise (Trainex) programme, that helps both on-water and aerial units train as closely as possible to real life scenarios – including mass rescues, which are seen as a priority for coastguard and other search and rescue organisations after several high profile ferry fires in the last year.
Robb organises these trainex scenarios to be realistic and challenging for volunteers; even going so far as to scatter flotsam in the training area, to simulate the aftermath of a sinking and make the situation more authentic for trainees. In 2016 Coastguard Waiheke attended 79 incidents, with the judges also noting that Robb was one of the most regular attending crew members.
The awards were presented by Mr Lucca following the Coastguard Northern Region annual general meeting which was attended by about 120 people. Recognition of Robb’s service may not end there. He is now one of four regional finalists in contention for the national coastguard volunteer of the year award, which will be decided in mid-October. •

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