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Issue No. 399 February 2016

Honour for SAR stalwart

Senior Sergeant Brian Benn with Mrs Doris Grant and the Lou Grant Memorial Trophy.
Photo: Nic Barkley, Southern District

Senior Sergeant Brian Benn is the latest recipient of the Lou Grant Memorial Trophy, presented in recognition of outstanding work in Police SAR.

Brian has dedicated more than 30 of his 39 years in Police to SAR. His name is synonymous with search and rescue in Southern District and he was instrumental in establishing the Dunedin Water Rescue Squad.

As a rescue swimmer he has undertaken numerous water rescues - including that of 10 French sailors from the capsized trimaran Groupma 3 during the 2008 Jules Verne Round the World Yacht Race.

“A lot of people go into the outdoors and sometimes - through their own fault or not - they need assistance,” he says. “SAR is about helping people when they’re having a bad day.”

Brian worked on victim identification in Thailand after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami and Christchurch after the February 2011 earthquake. In 2010 he was awarded a Queens Service Medal for his SAR work.

The trophy honours Sergeant Lou Grant, a SAR pioneer who died in the 1993 Eagle helicopter crash in Auckland. At the presentation Brian met Lou’s mother, Doris Grant.

Brian says he attended a lecture Lou gave during a training course. “I remember he told me off for not paying attention at one stage,” he says.

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