Award for river rescue

An Abbeyleix soldier who dragged a drowning man from a river in Kilkenny city was rewarded for his life saving efforts at the Irish Water Safety National Awards ceremony, late last year.

An Abbeyleix soldier who dragged a drowning man from a river in Kilkenny city was rewarded for his life saving efforts at the Irish Water Safety National Awards ceremony, late last year.

Commandant Colin Lawlor was the recipient of a ‘Seiko Just in Time Award’ for a daring and successful rescue he carried out on the river Nore in Kilkenny on August 17, 2011.

According to Colin’s citation, on that afternoon, at John’s Bridge on the river Nore in Kilkenny, Colin was out running along the riverbank when he noticed a person in distress in the water. He instructed two passers-by to call the emergency services.

Without any hesitation he grabbed a lifebuoy and entered the water. The person was tiring and had gone under the water a few times.

As he went under again Colin grabbed his wrist and carried him to the bank. Emergency Services arrived and commenced first aid. He made a full recovery.

Just prior to this daring rescue Colin had completed a water safety course with Laois Water Safety at Portlaoise and attributes his successful rescue to methods learned there.

“There is real value in that course. It gave me the skills to be able to do what I did”, Colin told the Leinster Express.

“I’ve been in the army for 18 years so I have that type of training as well. The water safety course helps you to recognise danger and you know what to do”.

Colin recommended people to complete the course, especially those with children and people who frequent the seaside, like fishing or are near water at all.

“I would absolutely recommend it for anyone, especially parents. I have two small kids and you never know what will happen.

“I have to credit the standard of the instructors in Portlaoise - Noel McCarthy, Valerie Case and all the other instructors.

“They really put you through your paces but you come out with good skills afterwards”.

Colin left for a tour with the United Nations in Lebanon soon after he carried out the dramatic rescue. He is now attached to the Defence Forces at the Curragh. He hopes to recommence his water safety training in the near future.

At the same ceremony six members of Laois Water Safety received long service medals for their contribution to water safety.

Ann Marie Maher and Pat Scully received the 15 year award; Jackie Delaney and Valerie Case received the 20 year award; Stephen O’ Toole received the 30 year award; and Noel McCarthy received the 40 year award.

Laois Water Safety have recommenced all safety and rescue classes. Full details of classes and booking procedure available at reception in Portlaoise Leisure Centre.

New members are welcome and the aim is the slogan of Irish Water Safety which is ‘every person a swimmer and every swimmer a lifesaver’.