A LIMERICKMAN who has saved countless lives in the region during his “outstanding” 50 years of voluntary service with the Civil Defence has been honoured by the organisation.
Michael J Ryan, 65, from Corbally, joined the Civil Defence at the tender age of 15 on December 15, 1961. After watching a neighbour of his dying, Michael felt “helpless” and decided he never wanted to watch someone die again without being able to help them.
He wanted to join since he was 12, after his sister joined, but he was too young to join. However, his persistence was the Civil Defence’s gain and he hasn’t looked back since. After first completing a first aid course, he worked his way up to become an instructor in the casualty service and qualified as an emergency medical technician three years ago.
He is now a first officer and officer in charge of the casualty service in county Limerick branch of the Civil Defence.
Reflecting on his decades of service, he told the Limerick Leader that it has been “time well spent”.
“I have enjoyed it immensely. It has been so worthwhile and satisfying, and hopefully it did a lot of good.
“The number of people who join the Civil Defence is not as great as I’d like it to be. But the quality of the people we have amazes me, and their commitment has remained constant. It does annoy me when people say they have nothing to do - there are lots of organisations people could become a member of and there is a lot of voluntary work to be done. You do see sad things at times, but it is great to be able to do something to help.”
Last week his colleagues held a special evening in his honour to mark his half-century of selfless service to their organisation in their headquarters in Annacotty Business Park.
He was thanked for his immeasurable service by Jos Kirby, civil defence officer in county Limerick and a presentation was made by Brian Kennedy, environment section with Limerick County Council.
Since his retirement from Limerick City Council in 2006, where he worked as an executive technician for 42 years, he has dedicated his full service to the defence, working anti-social hours to help those in need.