Volunteer Profile – Damon
How long have you been in the team?
Team Member for 15 years.
What you do outside NEWSAR (work and other hobbies)?
I joined NEWSAR with a background in Climbing and Caving (I’m also a member of Cave Rescue). I love being outdoors in the hills and love anything to do with water and swimming.
I’m a Health, Safety and Environmental Manager for Tata Steel so all these skills are useful in my roles in NEWSAR.
What have you learned while being a member?
I’ve learnt so much since joining, from improving my rope skills, water rescue skills, navigation and casualty care. I’ve since become a first aider at work after getting this confidence via NEWSAR. I am a NEWSAR First Responder and Search Manager, which involves the first contact with the Police to decide and plan on how the team can best be deployed. I’ve previously held operational management roles to help form the direction of the team.
I love being part of NEWSAR and the mountain rescue family and it has become a major part of my life. Teamwork and professionalism is essential to the smooth operation of the team. The disruption to normal life can be frustrating and tiring at times, but the benefits far outweigh this. My family and work are very supportive of this.
Worst and best aspects of being in the team.
We at times get involved in difficult and sad call outs – missing persons who sadly do not survive and being part of the Search Manager group in the April Jones case is a particular lasting memory. However even the sad ones we feel we help bring closure to bereaved families.
Many of our casualties and families are incredibly thankful to us in their hour of need and it’s very humbling to be thanked for our efforts, when often we are doing what we love. Many people don’t know we’re all volunteers with normal lives, so we make a point of letting people know to help spread the word and ensure we can get support in the future.
I know I’ve made a difference, even knowingly saved some lives, but the excuse to be outside in the hills or elsewhere whilst also helping someone is a major factor in why we all love doing this.