Jim Coe has been recognised for his contribution to sport, for 42 years of surf lifesaving at the Kariaotahi Surf Lifesaving Club
At the Counties Manukau Sporting Excellence Awards held on Sunday 26 November, Jim received an Auckland Council service to sport award.
While it recognises his dedication to the Club, he says it’s a group effort. “There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t see. It is nice to be recognised for what we do. It’s not just me, it’s the organisation. It goes hand in hand with what we do,” he said.
“First of all, we are a community service. We’re about saving lives, but also allowing people to enjoy the environment that we enjoy, and enjoy it safely.”
At 13 years old, Jim was involved in his first rescue. “This place is my home away from home.” Kariaotahi Surf Lifesaving Club was founded by Jim’s father and he grew up in it. “My kids are also involved in the club, it’s just a natural progression,” he said.
The family aspect is one that is continued in the Club. “We wanted to build a family environment here,” Jim said. He said he enjoys training up the younger members. “They start off with a fear of the water, by the end of their six-week training, they’re fish, like us. It’s good to see the change in them. They learn discipline and other skills which sets them up for the rest of their life. It’s great to see the kids being successful.”
With a fairly good membership of volunteers, qualified lifeguards and trainees, it’s still all hands on deck when summer approaches.
“Mother Nature always teaches you a lesson,” he said. He’s learnt a lot of lessons over his 42 years at the Club.
His service to the Club has not just been for participation, but for being president for 17 years, a role he stepped down from in September this year, to focus on other aspects of the Club. He was also chairman for Surf Lifesaving Northern region for five years.
What is possibly more significant than his most recent award is the fact that he will be celebrating his 40th anniversary of becoming a qualified lifeguard next year. “It will also tie in with the Club’s 50th anniversary in the 2018-19 season,” he said.