Sligo Bay RNLI Helm chosen as finalist for first Captain Dara Fitzpatrick award
A Sligo Bay RNLI Helm has been celebrated as a finalist in the inaugural Captain Dara Fitzpatrick Award, hosted by the Irish Paramedicine Education and Research Network (IPERN).
Eithne Davis was nominated for the award by her lifeboat station team and having been selected as a finalist, she attended a special ceremony at the University of Limerick yesterday (Wednesday 8 March) on International Women’s Day. Five finalists were shortlisted by the IPERN Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Special Interest Group to award and recognise an inspirational female colleague working in the Irish pre-hospital community.
Frances Griffin of the National Ambulance Service picked up the award which pays tribute to Captain Dara Fitzpatrick’s powerful legacy. Eithne was among the five finalists selected for embodying Dara’s values of Compassion and Kindness, Strength and Bravery, Leadership and Teamwork, and Professionalism.
In submitting Eithne’s nomination, Sligo Bay RNLI said the station had a proud history of a strong representation of female crew: ‘Eithne joined Sligo Bay RNLI at its inception in April 1998 and has been a steadfast member of the team since. Her volunteering role with the RNLI spanned her life stages of rearing a young family, through various jobs and roles, to this year completing her Doctorate Studies in Environmental Studies. Over the past 25 years in all circumstances, she has carried her RNLI pager and been on call ready to launch to those in need of help at sea.
‘She has been an outstanding member of the crew, was appointed our first female Helm in 1999, is a sea going casualty carer and most recently was appointed as the station’s first local Trainer and Assessor. Of significance also is the fact that she was the first ever RNLI retained inshore lifeboat mechanic in the fleet. In her 25 years, she has launched on service 164 times, involving 169 hours at sea, trained at sea for over 396 hours, and has been directly involved in the saving of nine lives, not to mention the other 131 people she has assisted, many requiring casualty care.
‘Launching in an open lifeboat always requires bravery, but Eithne would not consider herself as anyone special. In one incident in very rough weather when responding to a surfer in difficulty the lifeboat slammed hard off a large wave and Eithne was injured. She pressed on with the call out towards the casualty only to stand down on notification that the person had gotten ashore safely. Eithne took a couple of weeks off to recover and then was back on the lifeboat as eager as always. If queried, her self-effacing attitude would likely be, ‘sure it’s what we do, isn’t it?’”
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.
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