Ever had to put on a wet suit or safety harness in the back of a vehicle?
These are the sort of activities Westpac Air Rescue Helicopter personnel are required to do on a daily basis, so it was fitting that this was one of the stations in this year’s Air Rescue Challenge.
Luisetti Seeds Operations Manager, Mark Frampton, was part of the New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association (NZGSTA) team “The Gladiators” which took out third place in the Challenge, held on September 22.
Twenty teams competed for the winner’s trophy, a certificate and a signed-copy of Victoria Cross- holder Willie Apiata’s book. Willie is the Ambassador for the Westpac Air Rescue Helicopter.
Mark says the Air Rescue Challenge ran in two parts. The first was a test of fitness, team-work and intelligence, with teams facing off against each other over a range of rescue-related activities including using a stretcher to carry a volume of water over obstacles, carrying out CPR, map-reading, calculating drug dosages and fuel requirements and using tracking devices to find beacons. A prone-hold was also thrown in this mix.
The second part of the Challenge was a fast and furious test of speed.
Mark says water was the currency of the day and teams competed for volumes of water. The final total determined the winners and place-getters, with less than a 10-litre bucket separating first from fourth.
But the real winner of the day was the Westpac Air Rescue Helicopter, as the day raised $100,000 which helps cover the cost of around 20 rescue missions.
Collectively, the NZGSTA team raised $6100 with Mark alone raising $1700 with support from Luisetti Seeds’ staff and clients.
For Mark, one of the highlights of the Air Rescue Challenge was having the opportunity to meet Willie Apiata VC, who spent around 30 minutes chatting with The Gladiators in the NZGSTA tent.
Having sniffed success by getting third place, Mark says they will be looking to lifting the coveted trophy next year.
He says while it was great fun, ultimately it was about supporting a cause that is close to the heart of many of Luisetti Seed’s clients.
As Mark says, for people living in rural areas not easily serviced by an ambulance, the Westpac Air Rescue Helicopter is a lifeline and a vital service for those who live, work and play in rural New Zealand.