On Saturday 23 February 21 men gathered in the Peter Good Hall for breakfast and fellowship. The meeting opened with prayer and some songs of praise, led by Rev Sean Hanily. The speaker was Mr Paddy Quinn from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, well known in the wider community as a leading officer in the Omagh Station. Paddy has spoken widely and willingly across the Province about his membership of “Firefighters for Christ”. This is a Christian outreach body with a foothold in over 30 countries; its members are dedicated to serving God and their fellow man, whenever and wherever the need and opportunity arises.
Paddy talked about his recent visits to Uganda where the national Fire and Rescue Service is under-staffed, under-resourced and under-trained. He described how it had taken the best part of 3 years to gather up a consignment of kit and clothing to meet the needs of 140 firefighters – about a quarter of the country’s fire-fighting force. The scale of the problem is reflected in the fact that Northern Ireland which is much smaller than Uganda has many more fire-fighters. Once on the ground Paddy, assisted by his wife, travelled widely in the country delivering kit and clothing, and training local fire crews. This included teaching CPR and how to use webbing and karabiners to effect safe recoveries. He also demonstrated how rescuse throw lines are a quick, easy and safe way of rescuing people from open water
Everywhere he went Paddy took the opportunity to share his faith, and witness to the saving Grace of Jesus who has brought so much blessing and enrichment to his own life and work. He concluded his talk by commending to those present three verses of scripture Hebrews 13.5, John 3.16, and Matthew 11.28.