No turkeys get a mention in For Argyll’s tributes to a representative sample of the big achievers and achievements in Argyll and the Isles in 2013.
First, we want to thank you, our readers – a self-selecting community which continues to grow and has taken ownership of For Argyll, making it your debating chamber, your campaign base and your playspace. Your energies issue us with daily challenges to keep pace with you – and that is the greatest possible reward to us for what we do.
This will be a running series of tributes, growing throughout the day, rather than a single blockbuster.
We’ll be looking at the safekeepers, the economic drivers, the entertainers, the enablers and some special individual contributions.
This is for the volunteer crews of our RNLI lifeboats, who put themselves at risk to keep those working, travelling and adventuring on the water safe and the marine environment itself protected. We have our sturdy offshore lifeboats at, in alphabetical order, Campbeltown, Islay, Oban and Tobermory; and our inshore ones at Helensburgh and Tighnabruaich. This year has seen them in regular, sometimes sustained, action, in the most serious and prolonged situations and unfailingly succeeding in what they do.
This is also for the volunteers of our Mountain Rescue teams, based in the key strategic points of Arrochar and Oban. Their expertise and courage, the personal risks they run in the rescues they effect are the land-based equivalent of the lifeboat crews.
Then there are the volunteer coastguard search teams, tramping the most difficult terrain, often in out of the way sections of our massive coastline where even to get in there takes a serious and sustained effort.
Argyll and the Isles, in the nature of its scale and reach, also has a substantial number of volunteer fire service crews, on the islands and the mainland, with many now also trained as first responders in dealing with injuries. Amongst everything else. they need to know the byways of this huge area. Sometimes working out how to get a fire tender in to a remote place is a challenge of its own.
By definition of what they do, all of these volunteers are called upon in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances and on occasions of greatest need. They answer those calls, time after time after time, with professionalism, specialist knowledge and high level skills.
The support for their services which we willingly offer is welcome and necessary.
We are so lucky to have them. Our collective debt to them can only be acknowledged. It can never be repaid.