Recognising rescue helicopter’s mighty Mums | Philips Search and Rescue Trust

Recognising rescue helicopter’s mighty Mums

Parenting through a pandemic is new to all of us. Amid the immense challenges for our local communities, during this time of uncertainty lockdown has also forged unique family connection. Families sharing weeks at home together, supporting one another under the cloud of COVID-19, working parents operating remotely or stood down, essential workers leaving their bubble to help others, it is a unique time for us all.

Staff from the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter, TECT Rescue Helicopter, Greenlea Rescue Helicopter and Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter have been working through all levels. Despite the country being in lockdown accidents still occur, and critical funding still needs to be secured, especially with rising safety costs, which leaves no rest for the Trust’s four central North Island rescue helicopter bases and the people and parents behind them.

So how does lockdown look if your mum is an essential worker and member of the rescue helicopter crew? With Mother’s Day upon us, we asked just two of the many mothers at Philips Search and Rescue Trust to briefly share their own experiences as mums on the job.

Mother of two adult sons, Intensive Care Paramedic Felicity Lallier and mother of 13-year-old daughter, Crewman Libbie Faith, have been with the Trust since 2019. Although based at different locations with different responsibilities, their challenges as parents in a demanding rescue role are similar.

The role as crewman and intensive care paramedic on a rescue helicopter is demanding. The extra layer of COVID-19 prevention adds more complexity, including strict procedures to protect crew and their families so they don’t compromise their home bubble when they return. During Level 4 both Libbie and Felicity were supported by their partners and children, enabling them to continue their rescue work serving their local community.

Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter Intensive Care Paramedic, Felicity Lallier has been an ICP for 12 years, with her initial time based in the USA. During her early years in paramedicine Felicity’s school age sons became accustom to their mum’s demanding role and roster. Due to the high-pressure nature of emergency work, arduous night shifts and long hours that didn’t fit with school, precious family time was sacrificed. Felicity credits the incredible support of her partner the key to surviving those challenges and keeping the family moving during that time.

Felicity’s now adult son, Andrew, joined her in lockdown and has been a huge support, Felicity’s partner an essential primary healthcare worker, has also worked throughout the pandemic, so Andrew’s support and home cooking skills during their time outside the home bubble have relieved pressure for the whole unit, tightening their bond.

Greenlea Rescue Helicopter Crewman, Libbie Faith, is currently studying to become a paramedic. When Libbie isn’t rostered on, she’s enjoyed staying active locally and spending time with her husband and daughter Niamh, appreciating Niamh’s cooking discoveries and helping with her schoolwork. Libbie shares there have been plenty of challenges, especially with her husband’s return to work in Level 3, requiring some juggling and compromise on the home front.

Niamh is immensely proud of her mother’s crucial community health role,

“Having my mum as a crewman on the rescue helicopter is so awesome. I love the fact she gets to help people through her job and work in helicopters.”

The 13 year old explains, “It can be hard sometimes with my mum’s different work schedules and long hours, even for me at times as I occasionally have to go to a friend’s house when Mum heads out to go on a job. I’m so proud of my mum for getting so far in her new career so quickly. She loves her job and is in it 100%. At school I get questions about mum’s job and I love to tell people what she does. “

Fellow crewman, Kelley Waite recently became a mum and has been on maternity leave over the past few months, when Kelley returns her and her baby will also become familiar with the ‘new normal’ as a mum on the rescue helicopter.

Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Pictured Felicity Lallier on the winch


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