Erin hauls in second Coastguard accolade

By Roger Moroney

Napier woman Erin Lawrence said she was excited and honoured to pick up Hawke's Bay Coastguard's Volunteer of the Year Award at its recent AGM.

But last week, just a fortnight later, she was "blown away" when she picked up the Coastguard Eastern Region's Leadership Award at a function in Taupo.

After joining the volunteer maritime service six years ago it was the first time she had picked up an award, and getting two in as many weeks was something special, she said.

"It is something I just enjoy doing," she said.

"I've always enjoyed living by the beautiful sea and I saw coastguard as a way of giving something back to the community - something I could use my skills at to help out."

Ms Lawrence is a teacher and joined at a time when Hawke's Bay Coastguard was setting up its radio and communications systems.

She put her organisational skills to work in "putting things in place" and today continues to oversee the radio training programmes.

She has also been heavily involved in overseeing training programmes in general.

"It's exciting because things are constantly changing and we continue to upskill."

While mainly ashore, she does get out on the service's emergency response boat from time to time.

"Oh yes, I enjoy getting out there."

Hawke's Bay Coastguard spokesman Peter Boshier said the service's 40 active volunteers had devoted about 5500 hours to training and responding to emergency calls over the past year.

They carried out 26 emergency and boating assistance missions.

"This has been assisting vessels in need, towing boats that have broken down or searching for and rescuing boaties who are in life-threatening situations."

He said the awards were recognition of the commitment of volunteers and their families.

Four other members of the service were honoured at the local AGM.

Rescue Vessel Volunteer of the Year - Matthew Harvey

Radio Operator of the Year - George Merriman

Air Patrol Volunteer of the Year - Mads Slivesgaard

Trainee of the Year - Richard Landon-Lane.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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