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Riding the waves: Norman's story as a Marine Rescue NSW volunteer

In honour of International Volunteer Day, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Norman, a Trilogy Care customer and a Marine Rescue volunteer whose expertise, commitment and enthusiasm keeps our coasts safe.

Norman joined the Marine Rescue as a volunteer 24 years ago, a little younger and a little less creaky around the joints – “I was actually a lot fitter then. I didn’t have all the problems I’ve got now. I was a six million-dollar man then, and I’m now a seven million-dollar man.“ Norman jokes. However, he has had to alter his role in recent years, due to physical restrictions “I don’t know whether you know my background. I’ve got a pacemaker and a couple of hip replacements.” He explains.

This hasn’t put a stop to his volunteer work however, merely changed how it looks “So with marine rescue, it’s divided into two sections. You’ve got the boating section or the rescue section, and then you’ve got the section of the main chair where we handle radios and stuff. And so I’m more involved with that side of it where I can sit down and handle radios and log boats on and off.” With Marine Rescue NSW radio operators managing a staggering 250,123 radio calls over the last financial year, it’s no mean feat monitoring our waterways and answering distress calls.

24 years is an impressive tenure, so what’s kept Norman ‘on board’ with Marine Rescue Ballina for so many years? (We do apologise for the pun.) “You can’t sit around watching TV all day. You’ve got to get out and do something. We’re working our shifts on our own, but our unit is 87 people, all volunteers. So yeah, we have a pretty good camaraderie with everybody in our unit. And it’s so much more enjoyable. It gets you out of the house. And it’s good for mental health.”

During this interview, Norman’s dedication to his work with Marine Rescue Ballina was apparent and earnest. His commitment to the safety of seafarers in the Northern Rivers shows just how selfless and important volunteers are within our world. We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to Norman and all the volunteers who help keep our communities safe and sound.

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