Thanking our rescue helicopter dads | Philips Search and Rescue Trust

Thanking our rescue helicopter dads


Working for such a critical life-saving service can come with its challenges and today we take the time to recognise all the dads operating onboard our rescue helicopters.

Being a father onboard a rescue helicopter can at times be difficult with the high-pressure nature of emergency work. The pressure of shift work, fatigue management, and the mentally tough role of being a first responder, often leading to a high-intensity lifestyle.

Due to a high number of our crews being male and many a father figure, they not only have one super important role to fill but two! Though their role at work may be as a pilot, crewman or intensive care paramedic, they never lose sight of the most important role in their life, that is to be a dad.

As a service that is available 24/7, 365 days we can take the time to appreciate the time and effort that goes into balancing your work vs family life. Understanding how demanding the role and roster can be is down to having a supportive family.

Father to four boys, Crewman Bill McNeilly is a first responder and shift worker onboard the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter. As a father involved in a highly demanding job, it can often come with many different challenges. Bill lives in the Bay of Plenty and travels 1.5hrs to get to his job, often spending a lot of time away from his home and working odd hours. Though Father’s Day is significant to him, he can’t always rely on being able to see his boys on a set day due to shift work. Bill will always go out of his way to make time with his family, whether it be an early morning breakfast or an afternoon adventure. “It’s such an important part of my life, being able to make time to see my four boys,” says Bill. Bill’s greatest passion will always be for his family.

With all these challenges as a father, it’s obvious that our rescue helicopter fathers love their jobs and are a wonderful example for their child lookup. But there is nothing more rewarding than being with your family, seeing your children smile, and knowing that you have a significant role to play.


Below: Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter pilot – Charlie Beetham and his boys.

We Need You

Your support ensures rescue helicopters are available to your community.
Your rescue helicopter can be airborne in 10 minutes and, in a life or death situation, this speed and agility can make all the difference. The timely assistance that rescue helicopters provide can reduce disability and improve survival – the sooner treatment begins, the greater chance of patient recovery.

We are partially funded by a government contract with National Ambulance Sector Office (NASO). We rely heavily on the generosity of sponsors and the community to help fund the shortfall that allows us to be rescue ready 24/7, 365 days of the year. This crucial financial support ensures our rescue helicopter can continue to bring life-saving equipment, rescue personnel, and intensive care paramedics directly to the patient.

Without your support, your rescue helicopter would not be able to remain operational on a 24/7, 365 day a year basis. This could mean a serious delay in people being rescued or transported to hospital for urgent treatment.

Support your rescue helicopter and make a lifesaving difference.

Saving Lives, Together.

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