Tributes paid to founder of search and rescue group

Tributes have been paid to the founder of a countrywide search and rescue group who led volunteers on night-time patrols along the River Shannon to prevent them from taking their own lives.

Trevor Corbett, 32, was found in Cratloe Woods, Co Clare, last Friday, by a garda on duty.

His death is being treated as a tragedy and gardaí do not suspect foul play.

Earlier this year, Mr Corbett described how he wanted to help others in burden after he previously tried to commit suicide.

A family member saved his life after he took an overdose, he said.

Following a spate of suicides late last year on the River Shannon in Limerick, Mr Corbett began foot and water patrols. He had also set up the Countrymen Emergency Response Team.

At the time he said he had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving with the UN in Kosovo.

“I served in Kosovo for three years under the UN. I worked with a team called the Morture Affairs Team.

“I was only 19 at the time and our job was to enter Kosovo in May 1999, to recover bodies that had been littered all over the country from the war, either from mass graves or from executions. Bodies were literally left in fields and forests and rivers. And after that I came back and joined the Irish army and I served for six years, but I started suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“On top of that, I also ended a long-term relationship and there was a few other bits and pieces and I just couldn’t see a way out of it all and I thought, ‘right, that’s it, I’m gonna do it’, and I went away one night and I took an overdose. But, luckily for me, somebody who wasn’t supposed to come home came home and found me.”

Mr Corbett agreed that being saved that night played more than its part in allowing him to “give something back to the community”.

“Lately I’ve become a firm believer in that everything happens for a reason, and, I believe that’s why I’m still here today, to do something like this. Hopefully we’re going to go from strength to strength and we’ll be able to put the patrols on more often.”

Mr Corbett added: “There is help out there but you have to reach out for it. It won’t come to you. There are organisations like the Samaritans, Pieta House, fantastic organisations that can help.”

Those involved in search and rescue groups the length and breath of the country were said to be “very upset” and “in shock”.

Mr Corbett had worked with search and rescue groups in Mallow, Carrick-on-Suir, Limerick, and the Boyne Search and Rescue unit.

Speaking yesterday, a friend said: “It’s an absolute pity. Everyone is upset that he didn’t pick up the phone. There were plenty of people who would have helped him out.

“Trevor went to a lot of missing persons cases around the country and helped out wherever he could. He put in a big effort and has helped so many families of those who have gone missing or who have committed suicide. It’s very, very sad.”

Mr Corbett, of Avonmore Road, Raheen, Limerick, will be buried later today, in Castlemungret Cemetery, Co Limerick.

He is survived by his wife, Debbie, parents Nuala and Jimmy, sister Lorraine, and brothers James, Leonard, and Ivan.


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