She gave it her all — Emergency services make a guard of honour for Rhonda O’Connell

Rhonda O’Connell’s family leave the church as people pay their respects.

Susanna Freymark

Rhonda O’Connell was a volunteer at the Casino VRA Rescue Squad for 27 years.

She joined when she was 44 years old soon after moving to Casino because her husband Barry was a bank manager and was transferred to Casino.

Rescue squad members and other emergency services including police paid their respects at Rhonda’s funeral service at St Mark’s Anglican Church today, Tuesday, June 11.

Long time rescue squad member Noel Ball said Rhonda was “anything you could wish for in a person.”

”She was friends with my family and with other families in the squad,” Noel said.

Noel Ball, third from the left, outside St Mark’s Church.

Those connections enticed Rhondas to join Casino Rescue Squad.

She became a Life Member and was awarded a Commendation for flood rescue in the 2002 floods.

Noel spent a lot of time with Rhondas as she learned the ropes.

”She was adventurous and outdoorish,” Noel said.

Vale Rhonda O’Connell.

Rhonda was a qualified nurse too.

She trained in general land rescue, swift water rescue and vertical rescue. Like all VRA members she also trained in first aid.

”Rhonda was right across the board in all she did. She gave it her all,” Noel said.

Rhonda took her training a step further with remote area first aid qualification.

“She was always available. Always there,” Noel said.

Rhonda was on the Casino Rescue Squad committee in 2001 and was president in 2006—2009. Her husband Barry was treasurer at the squad for 10 years.

Rhonda will be missed by family and friends and by the rescue squad members.

”Friendships in the rescue quad were different,” Noel said.

“You shared sad moments and you grieved together.”

”She was always here.”

Today, Casino Rescue Squad grieves without Rhonda and pays tribute to her service and friendship.

Rhonda died from a serious stroke.

Vale Rhonda O’Connell April 7, 1953 — May 29, 2024.

Photos: Susanna Freymark

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