- Craig comes to us. He’s listened to our goals, our investment needs and our insurance needs & he’s sold us products that fit best to suit our lifestyle.
- Louis & Barbara Kuriger
- Craig has really looked after us, He’s gone and got the best deals. That’s his job.
- Ross & Shelley Clark
- Dealing with a specialist company like Abacus is vital. That relationship thing is absolutely important because you know someone is going to bat for you.
- Steve Day, MD Pace Engineering
- I am truly grateful to Jamie and consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to have received the benefit of his astute advice and assistance.
- - J. F. Pickett
- It has felt very good to know we have Richard and the team at Abacus Group Ltd on our side.
- - Brian and Tracey Downes
- Richard bent over backwards in his endeavours to help us every step of the way through the claim, making the process as simple as possible.
- - John & Carole Lynskey
Abacus director Richard Toon has been the subject of an offshore sea rescue.
And he is full of admiration for the calm professionalism of the team that air-lifted him to safety.
It wasn’t exactly life-threatening, because Richard bid for the experience at a fund-raising auction for the Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter Trust.
A keen boatie himself, he now knows what it feels like for someone who gets into strife and does need to be rescued. This is the kind of mission the Taranaki emergency services are involved in many times every year.
Abacus Group Ltd is proud to be amongst the many that give to the Trust.
Here’s his account of what happened on Saturday July 8:
Last year I attended a fund raiser for the Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter Trust. I was successful in an auction for a “patient experience”. Being a keen boatie, I elected to be rescued from the sea. In the last 12 months the helicopter team liaised with me to get this rescue done and after several “false starts” during the year the call came through last week, that Saturday was the day.
I was excited and at the same time, a little apprehensive, but from the moment I turned up at the hangar I was helped to relax into the experience. I was met by crewman Sarah Sharp, who along with Michelle Zehnder had liaised with me to arrange the date. Sarah was calm and confident and introduced me to crewman and manager Andy Cronin, who was passionate and knowledgeable, a cool and collected Mike Parker our local pilot and Grant Smith, the Chief pilot from Auckland, a highly experienced helicopter pilot. With them were Mike Melody, Sean and Nathan Zieltjes, a trio of brave and competent young volunteer swimmers.
What a great bunch of people. They talked about their roles and within a short period of time made me feel like part of this dynamic team. After kitting me out in a wetsuit and life jacket, Mike drove me out to the Oakura Surf Club where I met three of the “clubbies” that were to “IRB” us out to the Cape Egmont Sea Rescue boat that was waiting off shore to stage the rescue from the deck of their boat.
It was cold, wet and the sea was “gnarly” The ride out to the rescue boat set the scene, getting plenty of “air” over rollers, not sure what my face looked like but on the inside I was loving it. What confident and calm young people these surf life savers were. A quick transfer to the rescue boat, which is a very impressive boat manned by 7 volunteers from Coastal Taranaki. Once again ordinary people doing extraordinary things for our community.
All of a sudden the helicopter was there, hovering above us in the wind the rain and the swells. A few training pickups for the swimmers from the sea and the deck and then it was my turn. Mike clipped the hook to my harness, a couple of hand signals and I was under the chopper ready to be hauled into the side door. Unhooked, then seat belt on, the door was closed and I was off back to the helipad at the hospital.
WOW, what opportunities to see a team of brave and professional people go about a highly dangerous job with confidence, skill and humility. It appeared to be another day at the office for this team but the detail and preparation proved that every day at the office for them, was one of calculation, preparation and safety at all costs. One of the best parts of my day was the couple of hours after the rescue helping with the “clean up” and then chatting about the helicopter and their roles within the trust. I saw firsthand the precision and skill it takes to keep our community Agusta 109 in the air and saving peoples lives.
All of these people are real heroes, but we chatted about Bryce Barnett, the chairperson of the Trust who along with the other board members is a hero in ensuring that our helicopter can afford to fly and save people’s lives. To top it all off, I received a text from Andy that evening thanking me for being a part of the day.
Taranaki, we have an amazing resource that is manned by amazing people, highly skilled pilots and crewmen, skilled rescue swimmers, surf life savers and volunteers of the Cape Egmont Sea Rescue. Many thanks to you all, for your bravery and your skills and for providing me with a day to remember.
Wishing you all a safe and happy long weekend.
PART TWO OF A SIX-PART SERIES
The provincial hospital in Matanzas where Craig had three emergency surgeries looked good from the outside, but standards, experience and facilities were extremely lacking.
PART THREE OF A SIX-PART SERIES
Richard: “Remember virtually nobody could speak English and we had no Spanish. There was also an underlying culture we didn’t know about until later, that you just had to go along with the system. Being loud and pushy wouldn’t work, we just had to be very patient.