LIFE is invaluable, so what price can a community place on a life saving emergency service like the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service?
For Andrew Moran, the answer is simple, ‘whatever it takes’.
Two years ago the rescue helicopter was there in his hour of need after a tree fell on him breaking his back. Still shaken by just how close he came that day, the Lowanna saw miller reckons he owes more than he can ever repay.
“Donations are the only way I can give back to the helicopter service, so I try to encourage anyone to give what they can and support it,” Andrew said.
“You just never know when you are going to need it, that’s the honest truth.”
For Andrew his time came two days before Christmas in 2007.
The father of two had been felling trees with a chainsaw by himself for use in the Moran family-owned sawmill.
“I had just felled one tree and cut another, it looked safe where it was standing but as I turned my back, I heard a noise and felt a large crash against my helmet. The 25 foot tree hit me on the shoulder throwing me to the ground.
“The doctors didn’t know how I survived, I’d fractured my sternum, popped three discs in my back, broke my back and crushed a vertebrae,” he said.
Freeing himself and struggling onto his dozer, Andrew called Triple 0 and was helped to a clearing before he was airlifted to Coffs Harbour and later Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital.
A renowned axeman before his accident, Andrew has recovered to the point where he’s planning a return to competition wood chopping at this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show.
“That day made me realise there’s more to life than just work,” he said.
“I spend a lot more time with my wife Jayne and our kids Lochlann and Ashleigh now – I’ve got the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service to thank for that.”
Donations can be made at any branch of the Westpac Bank or by calling the North Coast service on 6627 4444.