Ross pensioner Sam Viney already has the NZCC Rescue Helicopter to thank for saving his life - more than once - and now he has 10,000 more reasons to thank the rescue service.
He thought all his Christmases had come at once when his name was drawn yesterday in the $10,000 Mitre 10 Mega raffle fundraiser for the Canterbury-West Coast Air Rescue Trust.
Mitre 10 Mega sales manager Richard Roberts said the prize could not have gone to a more perfect recipient.
Mr Viney has nothing but praise for the rescue helicopter service, which has come to his aid on four occasions and he says undoubtedly saved his life.
"The first time, I had a heart attack when I was in Whataroa and they picked me up and flew me to Greymouth Hospital. I had a massive heart attack 18 months later and the rescue helicopter carted me off to Christchurch - saved my life for sure."
Mr Viney says his life-threatening experiences continued and he was becoming well known to the rescue crew by now.
Last February he was badly burned, and who was he going to call?
"I was burning some rubbish and a spark jumped out and unbeknown to me got into my clothes. My clothes just burst into flames - I was a ball of fire rolling around the ground and finally put myself out, but my arm was badly burned. The rescue helicopter flew me to Greymouth Hospital.
"The last time I used it was (in September), when Asian tourists ran into us at Turiwhate. I was cut out of the car and went back to the hospital in the ambulance, but my mate went by chopper to Christchurch," Mr Viney says.
"I have nothing but high praise for the service which we can't lose.
"If we didn't have it I wouldn't be picking up my prize today."
The Mitre 10 raffle raised $15,000 for the air rescue trust.
- Greymouth Star