For the past 21 years, Coalcliff Surf Club life member Dave Winner has taught countless people First Aid, CPR and advanced resuscitation as well as run training for the Bronze Medallion and Surf Rescue Certificate.
As a surf-life saving educator his favourite saying was "I'm teaching CPR because one day, the person being saved might be me".
Those words proved prophetic on August 5 when the lifelong all-season surfer and sea swimmer was caught off guard by a large, unpredictable wave, which swept him off the rocks and into a deep rockpool where he was knocked unconscious and failed to resurface.
He was under the water for several minutes but the quick actions of five people who were on the beach at the time save his life.
Among those who rushed to his aid, pulled him from the water and started performing CPR was an off-duty first responder who had been taught the technique by Mr Winner.
After emergency services arrived he was airlifted to Royal North Shore Hospital, where he remained in an induced coma for the next three days.
Mr Winner eventually regained consciousness but remained in the Intensive Care Unit for much longer. He will be in hospital for many more months. Spinal cord damage has affected his fine motor skills but he does have movement in his limbs. He had broken his back before and suffered another spinal injury in the rockpool accident.
Mr Winner's road to recovery is going to be long one but last week it became clear to the Winner family they are not doing it alone. There is a whole community behind the much-loved Coalcliff SLSC legend.
Mr Winner, affectionately known as "Trip", is seen also seen as a real character in the wider surf club movement.
He is so appreciated and respected for everything he has done and last week fellow Coalcliff SLSC member and long time friend Chris Farmer and his wife Bethan launched a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of the community.
They originally set a goal of $5000 but that was reached then next day. The target those rose to $10,000 but $19,000 had been raised by Friday.
Now Mr Farmer thinks $50,000 might be possible to help fund all the medical expenses on his long road back to full health which will include months of rehabilitation.
"This fund is aimed at providing financial help to Dave and his family, to provide the professional care and assistance needed to aid his recovery," Mr Farmer said.
"It has been incredible the response. And it is creating such a nice feeling for the family.
"I didn't anticipate how beneficial it would be for them. Obviously the money is one thing. But I didn't foresee the benefit of all the messages and well wishes from everyone that have come along with it.
"It has had a massive impact on them and has really picked them all up."
Mr Farmer said Mr Winner has always been some with a positive outlook on life.
He said that positivity boosted by the community support would definitely help him get back to his ukulele playing best sooner.
The support has been so generous for the life member, chief instructor and patrol captain at Coalcliff SLSC because of the contribution he has made to the club and Coalcliff community.
Mr Farmer said he was not only the training facilitator at the club he is a life member of Surf Life Saving Illawarra and is presently a finalist in two categories of the the NSW Surf Life Saving Awards being announced on Saturday.
He is in the running for facilitator of the year after winning the Illawarra branch award. And is a finalist in a joint award with Coalcliff SLSC captain Rob Deacon for Community Education Program of the Year.
The nomination for that award which they took out at the Illawarra branch level was for the work the two men do in running the Surf Rescue Certificate (SRC) and Bronze Medallion training for extremely disadvantaged youths.
"The training extended to students and staff and will continue into the coming season with additional schools participating," Mr Farmer said.
Mr Deacon said it was amazing seeing Mr Winner working with the young people.
"I was in awe of Dave's teaching and the way he engaged these difficult to engage with students," Mr Deacon said.
"The students and staff developed a strong respect for Dave and he developed a real affection for this group of students. The outcome was a life changing experience for all involved."
Mr Farmer said the biggest donation so far was $2000 and came from someone Mr Winner had saved with CPR several years ago.
He said Mr Winner was a winner in many way.
He is also involved in the Stanwell Park Coalcliff Punters Club.
"Dave is the group's chief dictator alongside his trusty right hand man Pete Jordan," he said.
"There are two rules, if there is a grey horse we have to back it, it's easier for Dave to spot the greys in the pack.
"And rule two is never leave a man behind. This relates to an incident where Dave got left behind on race day at the Tuncurry Cup, he has never let us forget it."
"Dave loves playing the ukulele and often strums away when he on patrol, however, he strikes a disciplined line when it comes to water safety and professionalism when managing public safety."
Mrs Farmer described Mr Winner as a man who needed no introduction in the Coalcliff area.
She said he and his wife Judy moved into the community in 1980, raised two children Carly and Steven and now have four grandchildren.
"Dave is beloved for his easygoing charm and generous character," Mrs Farmer said.
"Regionally, he is regarded as a pillar of the Illawarra Surf Lifesaving community.
"He is the reigning SLS NSW Patrol Captain of the Year and has been awarded Life Membership due to his many years of dedicated service."
Mrs Farmer said many have met the affable, sunburnt, gentle giant relaxing at Coalcliff Beach, working out at the gym in Helensburgh, or walking on the coastal track. And many others remember him teaching First Aid, CPR, Advanced Resuscitation, Bronze Medallion or Surf Rescue Certificate during the last 21 years.
She said they were just some of the reasons why there has been such a generous response to the GoFundMe fundraising page.
Friends of Mr and Mrs Farmer said friend of theirs were among the first responders and they have stayed in contact with Mr Winner and his family ever since.
When they call Mrs Winner holds the phone to his ear so he can talk to them and he tells them how appreciate he is of everyone's well wishes and support.
He and his wife particularly want to thank Andrew Massey, Damian Lloyd, Harry Balaskas, Jim Dalmer, Kane Faust, Luke Dalton, Luke Morgan, Mitchell Loveday, Roger Blairs, Tim Lloyd and Yaan Keller Bergmann as well as NSW Ambulance Service, NSW Police, Scarborough Fire Brigade, Toll Helicopter and any others involved in the rescue on August 5.
You can made a donation to the Dave Winner's Rehabilitation Fund here.