Paul enjoys a life less ordinary in the DWMRT
PRO of Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team (DWMRT), Paul Gilbert (pictured inset), is so dedicated to the team that he moved from his Dundrum home to Roundwood to be closer to the team’s rescue base.
He was just one of the many rescuers involved in the massive search operation for lost mountaineers Pat Doran from Wicklow and Keith McDonnell from Dunboyne, Co. Meath last week.
‘Myself and my wife, Hely, moved to Roundwood from Dundrum last May to be closer to our base in Roundwood and we settled in very quickly.’
Paul who works with Dell in Cherrymount said that while there is no formal arrangement in place with the company regarding his rescue missions they were very supportive.‘They are very understanding to any person working with them who is working to support the local community. They are certainly an understanding employer and not everyone is in that position. A lot of our members are self employed so they have to absorb the cost of lost time themselves.’
Paul and Hely don’t have a family yet but he recognises that when they do he will have to reevaluate his commitment. ‘When we start a family I will have to curtail some of my involvement with the team in terms of the extra responsibilities I have taken on. I will have to cut back but I will still be attending rescues.’
With a rigorous training schedule not to mention in excess of 50 rescue operations per year Paul estimates that up to 70 days of the year involve some sort of DWMRT duties which is approximately one fifth of the year.
But while Paul is up on the mountains of Dublin and Wicklow rescuing people his family are naturally worried. ‘My youngest brother John is involved in the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation and when either of us are out either training or rescuing they are aware there is an element of risk.’
Paul’s interest in mountain rescue stems back to his time as an adventure scout during his teens in Dundrum. ‘There is a considerable cost. People think when they see the uniform that they are given to us but we have to pay a considerable amount towards the kit. Most of us not only have a top quality rescue kit but we also have our own personal kit. Petrol, food, telephone calls, holiday days from work and abandoned personal engagements all have to be paid for by us. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.’