Lightwire’s sponsorship increases safety of long-distance charity hiker

The importance of safety in rural communities is once again being highlighted by Lightwire, with the rural broadband provider sponsoring a personal locator beacon (PLB) for long-distance charity hiker, Dean Raynel as he walks the length of the North Island.

On 2 December, the Whangarei-based father of three began the 1,733km Te Araroa Trail – a 10-week continuous walk from Cape Reinga to Wellington. The trail, across the backcountry of the North Island, traverses farmland, backcountry roads, DoC walks, mountain ranges, rivers and everything in between – and Lightwire’s sponsored PLB will ensure a quick response should anything go awry.

Raynel will be entering the Waikato leg of the trail on 30 December 2018, where his brother and Lightwire Head of Operations Scott Raynel, will don hiking boots and join him.

Raynel’s PLB can be activated easily and sends a distress signal and GPS location to Search and Rescue New Zealand. The GPS location is precise and ensures the fastest response in an emergency.

Lightwire is committed to safety in rural communities and jumped at the opportunity to support Raynel in this way.

“We are uncompromising in our standards of health and safety, and are always conscious of providing the best knowledge, equipment and systems to get our people home safe every day,” says Lightwire’s Kristy Cook, Marketing, People and Culture Manager.

“We’re thrilled to be able to support Dean on this epic adventure. We know how challenging rural terrain can be and understand the importance of doing all you can to keep yourself safe.”

Surprisingly, Raynel has had little experience with hiking, so his preparation is key for this undertaking and having the right equipment is crucial for a safe return.

“I have spent most of my time researching trail notes and maps and determining my start and finish points for each day, including where I will be sleeping,” says Raynel.

Most of his journey will be on backcountry terrain with no cellphone coverage, so the PLB will be essential if things go wrong.

“We’re inspired by the bravery and courage it takes to undertake this type of journey and we’re honoured to be able to play our part in ensuring Dean’s safe return home,” says Cook.

Raynel will be following the Waikato River from Mercer to Huntly and then over the Hakarimata Range, passing through many Lightwire-supported communities, before coming into Hamilton. Lightwire helps these communities flourish through many different initiatives, including gifting and planting trees for rural schools and businesses, while providing rural broadband solutions for over 5,000 homes and businesses.

Lightwire is also committed to the safety and development of community members by supporting the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, Waikato Women’s Refuge and Air Training Corps.

You can follow Dean’s journey on Facebook and his blog:

To make a donation to Alzheimers Northland, see Dean’s Every Day Hero Page:

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