Interview – Nicholas Galea

September 23, 2015 in Member Interviews

Nicholas GaleaNick is a 24 year old 2nd Lieutenant in the Armed Forces of Malta. He describes himself as an adventurous person. In fact, he is interested in anything that does not involve sitting around. Nick fills his spare time with sporting activities such as climbing, abseiling, kickboxing and similar activities. Motorbikes are his passion, both the hours spent riding them and the days spent trying to make them work properly in the garage.

He works for the Armed Forces of Malta, specifically in the Airwing. He joined the Army for very much the same reasons that he joined the EFRU. Being an adventurous person and always looking for the next challenge, joining the Army was only a natural step for him to take. He enlisted in 2013 as part of the ranks and after 2 years of service decided to take his career a step forward by joining the officer corps. This brought about its own set of challenges, one of which was a 9 month arduous course with the Royal Air Force.

My first question to Nick is how and when he learned about the EFRU as an organisation:

‘’I first learned about the EFRU in 2011 during a fair for voluntary organisations. After speaking with some of the members during the fair, I was hooked. I enrolled straight away and have been an active member for the past 4 years.’’

Following this introduction, I ask Nick whether he finds any similarities between the training in the Army and that held at the EFRU.

“Although my work in the army is different than my role at the EFRU, the training is still very similar in nature. Both require a certain level of discipline, attention to detail, good communication skills and a degree of physical fitness. Personally I think that having joined the EFRU first prepared me better for the Army, having already honed the above-mentioned traits in the EFRU.”

When asked about his favourite aspect of the EFRU, Nick says it is very hard to pinpoint just one as the EFRU as it is such a vast organisation and has so much to offer. However he declares that it must be the tie between the operational side, the training and the bonds made between all of us members.

Recently the Civil Protection Department organised the SIMIT exercise revolving around the simulation of an earthquake. My next question for Nick is whether he can tell us about the highlights of this event. Which particular exercise did he think was the most fruitful?

“The SIMIT was a 3 day exercise organised by the Civil Protection Department in order to enhance the cohesion between the CPD themselves and other volunteer organisations such as the EFRU. Personally the exercise that felt most effective in achieving the mentioned aims (and more) was the night exercise on Friday evening. The exercise involved the simulation of a search for a missing girl in the vicious terrain of ‘Ghajn Tuffieha’ (Apple’s eye) cliffs. Volunteers had to conduct the search, and then move the girl by stretcher to a location where she could be airlifted by an Armed Forces helicopter. This last part, for me, was the highlight of the exercise as my day job and the EFRU came together into one culminating moment.”

My last question for Nick is whether he feels the EFRU has added value to his life and in what ways. Furthermore, I ask him whether he would encourage others to join the EFRU.

“Yes, of course. Since all members of the EFRU are volunteers, we do what we do out of love for the work, not because we have to. Being able to do what you love adds value to your life more than anything else. I would encourage everyone to give it a try and I am sure not many would regret it. As I mentioned before the EFRU is a vast organisation and no matter what your background or interests may be we have a place and a job for anyone.”

Charlene Schembri
EFRU Rescuer