Hero status given official recognition
For those he has rescued at sea he is already their hero, but now Timaru Coastguard Tony Lister has official hero status.
He was named one of 16 Kiwibank Local Heroes at an award ceremony held in Christchurch on Wednesday.
His citation said he has been a hard-working, active and dedicated member of the coastguard for 17 years. In 2012 he was recognised by Coastguard New Zealand as the National Volunteer of the Year.
"A highlight of Tony's time with Coastguard has been the way he has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to improve and maintain working relationships between Coastguard and local fishermen, the yacht club and port company. Tony has achieved this by readily involving himself in searches for missing fishermen and always going out of his way to acknowledge and call on the skills of others."
He regularly steps up to the role of scene commander where his "calm, collected and professional manner in emergency situations comes to the fore".
"He is the first to be called in any incident and on the rare occasions he is unable to attend in person he maintains a handle on proceedings through radio communications. He attends conferences, organises fundraising and is involved ... the day to day running of Coastguard.
"Tony has demonstrated his total dedication to helping those that use the sea, lakes and waterways in the South Canterbury region and beyond. He has worked ceaselessly on behalf of Coastguard to engender the respect of the water-going public and promote a positive image. The organisational, motivational and leadership qualities that Tony has demonstrated over the years have been inspirational to the Coastguard unit in South Canterbury and are fundamental to its continued development and future success."
This year, 115 medals will be presented nationwide over the next few weeks with one national local heroes winner to be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Gala Awards in Auckland in February.
The Timaru Herald