Age is no barrier to action for 74 year old Norm Lannoy at the Marine Rescue NSW Ballina Unit. Yesterday was the International Day of Older Persons and Norm loaves the chance to use his wealth of experience in the role of Training Officer at the Marine Rescue Ballina.
Norm moved to the Northern Rivers in 1997 to run a business, and in 1999 joined the then Australian Volunteer Coast Guard. He started out on the Wednesday afternoon radio shift, but Norm’s skills and leadership were quickly apparent and he soon moved to Deputy Unit Commander. Two years as Flotilla Commander for the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard followed before, after amalgamation, a further two years as Unit Commander for Marine Rescue NSW.
A veteran of hundreds of rescues, Norm recounts one in 2009 as the most memorable. The skipper of a Canadian yacht had died on board, leaving his wife unable to control the vessel. Despite five metre seas and near zero visibility, the yacht was located using radar, and the bereaved wife taken to safety. For their role in the rescue the crew were runners up for a Pride of Australia Award, a proud moment for Norm and his fellow members.
The best thing about being a volunteer, according to Norm, is the camaraderie. The Ballina Unit has some 90 members, and there’s always someone with a smile or up for a chat and a laugh.
Norm has some advice for older Australians thinking of volunteering for Marine Rescue NSW. ‘Keep an open mind and give it a go,’ he said.
‘There are great courses and a wonderful team spirit, and if you get involved you’ll have a rewarding experience.’ To volunteer at Marine Rescue NSW.