Mick Kerry - National MedalA Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter crewman has been awarded the National Medal for his many years of devoted service to the northern NSW community.

Michael Kerry began volunteering as a rescue crewman at just 18 years of age after being heavily involved in surf lifesaving.

The now 42-year-old became a full-time member of staff in 1992 and is now Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter’s longest-serving employee.

“When I first started as a volunteer the service only had one full-time pilot and one part-time pilot; all the crewmen were volunteers,” Mr Kerry said.

“I was a member of the surf club at Ballina, like most of the guys, and I hung around the helicopter base like a bad smell until I was old enough to help out.

“The reason that I’ve stayed so long is because of the enjoyment of the job and the great team environment. I still look forward to coming to work each week and I certainly wasn’t expecting to receive this medal.”
 
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter general manager Kris Beavis said Mr Kerry’s dedication to his job was typical of the type of people who came to work for the rescue helicopter.

“Mick’s not just a nice guy, he’s also highly dedicated to what he does,” Mr Beavis said.

“I want to congratulate Mick on receiving the National Medal and say that I hope he stays with us another 25 years.”

PICTURE: Michael ‘Mick’ Kerry proudly displaying his National Medal awarded to him at a ceremony in Lismore yesterday.