Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust (ARHT) paramedic Chris Deacon definitely has better work stories than most - 2000 of them to be exact.
On Sunday, the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust advanced paramedic performed his 2000th rescue mission on board the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
He is only the second paramedic in New Zealand to reach this impressive milestone.
Mr Deacon, known affectionately to his helicopter crew mates as “Deaks”, is not only an advanced paramedic, but also a qualified surf lifesaver for Auckland’s Muriwai Volunteer Surf Lifeguard Service, a skill which comes in handy when he finds himself dropped or winched into challenging water and boating rescues at a moment’s notice
In his more than 17 years at ARHT, Mr Deacon has seen just about everything and many of his 2000 missions have headlined the news, including “Dolphin Girl” Kelly Lawson who was crushed by a dolphin in 2006.
His 2001st mission on the weekend involved a several hour long airborne search for lost tramper Ronnie Fong over the Hunua Ranges.
ARHT chief executive Bob Parkinson says: “We’re very pleased to be able to recognise Chris’ significant contribution to not only the Trust, but also to at least 2000 patients, many of who were faced with a life and death situation.”
Mr Deacon’s face will soon become a familiar fixture in Kiwi living rooms once again when the Rescue 1 series returns to TV2 on June 28 at 8pm. The series follows the ARHT team on their missions throughout Auckland and the Coromandel.
While humble about his television fame, Mr Deacon says the show creates important awareness around what the public’s generous donations allow the team to achieve.
“After all, it’s the generosity of others that pays for half of our rescues each year,” he says.
To help fund Mr Deacon and the ARHT team’s future rescues, text CHOPPER to 5338 or buy the new Rescue 1 game from your mobile’s app store, available from June 28.
For more information on the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopters visit their website.