HOLD YOUR BREATH… AND HOPE FOR THE BEST! An interview with Stephen Dalli

March 9, 2016 in Member Interviews

11181497_10153804931653496_5101780165383310681_nIf each individual member of the EFRU had to be described with one phrase, Steve’s one would be just that. To lay the cards on the table straight away, Steve could easily be singled out as the Unit’s most dynamic character; a stunt-bomb threatening to spontaneously self-combust. He is unpredictable, or if you know him well enough, dangerously predictable and he knows way more than he should about how things work. Which is what brings me to his official, more politically-correct, description. At 30 years, Steve is an engineer and teaches Engineering Technology in a local secondary school. Since March 2013 he has formed part of the EFRU family and has, ever since, been a very active contributor to the Unit. He is also married to a very understanding and patient Amanda.

When I ask Steve what his hobbies are he gets very diplomatic:

My hobby is to try new things, anything I’ve never done before will definitely get my attention.’

Which is true, but I believe that three years of being Steve’s colleague and friend give me enough license to elaborate. He zooms around the island on a motorbike, gets creative with photography and video editing, shoots paper targets… and the list goes on, all the way to building gigantic mechanized cribs and forging all sorts of blades.  He also dives and admits that it is the activity that stuck with him the longest. And I invite you to hazard a guess: what kind of diving does he like best? Free diving, of course! The kind of diving that requires no hefty scuba gear but where you just hold your breath and disappear in the deep blue, leaving your family and friends to bite their nails till you resurface.

When you have such an energetic member in your team, you cannot but wonder what it is that motivates him and who he gets his inspiration from. Which is why my next question to Steve is: ‘who would you describe as your role model?’ His answer is brisk, short and very frank.

My role model is myself. He does everything exactly the same way as I would!

Hah! Not much to add to that, I’m afraid. An honest answer, even if blunt, is what you’ll always get from Steve. His no-frills policy is probably what makes Steve so to the point and reflects his let’s-get-down-to business attitude in the Unit. As big a bundle of random fun as he might be, Steve takes his EFRU duties very seriously. And so I ask what it is that keeps him coming to EFRU so regularly, when so much time is taken by other things in his life. Once again he’s quick to reply that at EFRU he gets to learn new skills and meets his friends whom he considers more as family at this stage.

My next question to our colleague is more of request and less of question. I ask him to describe one single EFRU experience he had that he will never forget. In his own words:

I can never forget the day when we saved a friend of mine from drowning after doing a cliff dive which didn’t end well. If it wasn’t for our well-coordinated team of rescuers, I would have ended up having one less friend.’


Very well said, Steve! Kudos to that EFRU duty-team that was quick enough to intervene, preventing such a terrible situation from getting so much worse.  Further into our interview, I attempt to get Steve to tell me how he would sell the idea of joining EFRU to other people, particularly those close to him. As one may predict, by now, he managed to put everything in a simple one-liner:

‘I would just let them know how much fun we have during training and events’.

One cannot but buy such a simple but genuine offer. As Steve rightly states, the EFRU has pretty much become a place where you get to learn invaluable life-skills in the good company of true friends. The more you invest in it, the more you get in return.

This sadly brings me to my last question. I ask where Steve sees himself in five years’ time, particularly where the EFRU is concerned. He completely evades the question, but chooses instead to get us all to raise an eyebrow (anyway, what’s new?). He states that he hopes not to do anything stupid that would cost him his life; if he’s alive in the next five years he’ll be more than happy, he says! Well, a toast to the next five years then! The past three have surely been significant in our dear friend’s life and we cannot but hope for many, many more of them to share with you at EFRU and beyond.

Iona Muscat