A VETERAN firefighter has been nominated for the Great Scot Award thanks to his humanitarian efforts during the refugee crisis.
Watch Manager Jim Snedden, based at Dunblane Community Fire Station, spent three weeks in the Mediterranean last summer on a mercy mission with the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) charity helping refugees fleeing conflict in Africa and the Middle East.
Jim was able to call upon his extensive training and experience as a firefighter as he worked with an international team to rescue men, women and children from overcrowded boats.
Jim said: “I constantly think about the desperate souls on those boats.
"When I was out there, I was too busy to think about anything except getting people to safety but, since returning to Scotland, I haven’t been able to get the refugees – especially the babies and little children – out of my head.
“The pictures on the news don’t do the horror of their plight justice. One day I boarded a small dinghy packed with at least 130 people.
"I noticed a hand reaching into the air from below the crush. I pulled out a 16-year-old girl, who threw her arms round my neck and refused to let go. I will never forget the look in her eyes.”
Jim is currently a retained station manager at Dunblane Community Fire Station, however he plays a key role in training firefighters in water rescue.
These crucial skills were vital during his time in the Meditarannean.
Firefighters across Scotland stand ready to put themselves on the front line to preserve life, both domestically and internationally, and SFRS will always assist its international colleagues in times of crisis.
As a retained firefighter, Jim's commitment to keeping communities safe is unwavering.
He said: "As a retained firefighter, the safety of the public, the preservation of life and the service are important to me.
"Retained firefighters arent just close to the community, we are often members of the community as well.
"Currently SFRS is recruiting in Striling and Clackmannanshire, as well as across the country - many of the skills I am able to utilise in the Mediterranean can be learned by becoming a retained firefighter there is the chance to learn many more transferable skills."
Now Jim intends to return to the Mediterranean to lend his skills once again in overcoming the ongoing crisis.
Jim continued: “My family knew I’d end up going back and they’ve been super-supportive, as have the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
“It’s a real honour to be nominated for an award. I can’t believe it."
Anyone who is interested in following in Jim's footsteps by becoming an RDS firefighter can.