Meet Our Volunteer: Manuel “Manny”

Manny tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m Portuguese by birth but moved to the UK in 2002 and have called it home ever since. My professional journey began in customer support at call centres, thanks to my knack for languages. From there, I moved into operations management and now manage IT applications. When I’m not at work, you’ll likely find me outdoors—be it dog training, hiking, running, or off-roading. I’m an avid greenlaner and spend a good chunk of time promoting responsible use of the countryside.

What inspired you to join Wessex 4x4 Response?

The UK has always felt like home to me, and joining Wessex was a way to give back to the community using the resources I have.

How long have you been a volunteer with Wessex 4x4 Response?

I joined towards the end of 2021.

What is your role at Wessex 4x4 Response?

First and foremost, I’m a Responder. Additionally, I’ve taken on the role of team manager for South Wiltshire. In this capacity, I support local responders, conduct interviews for new volunteers, and manage some administrative tasks like checks.

What has been your most memorable experience as a volunteer so far?

One evening, I found myself in a “self-deployment” situation where I assisted a driver with a broken-down vehicle in a perilous spot. My training equipped me to move his car to safety—actually, to his house—which meant he avoided a hazardous situation within 15 minutes, instead of waiting hours for recovery.

How do you balance volunteering with your other commitments?

With care, as they say. Like many others, I work full-time, so it’s all about balance. The robust IT system at Wessex helps us plan in advance when we can be available.

What do you find most fulfilling about being a volunteer here?

I find the variety of ways to support the community to be most fulfilling, from fundraising to assisting emergency services. The camaraderie among responders is another highlight for me; we all come from different backgrounds, but we share the common goal of serving our communities.

What advice would you give to someone considering joining Wessex 4x4 Response?

You don’t need a 4×4 vehicle to contribute; there are roles like control and support that need volunteers too. Also, keep your kit ready; you never know when you’ll be called upon.

Tell us about a skill or lesson you've gained from your volunteer experience:

The key takeaway is to always put your safety first; it’s the starting point to being able to help others effectively.

What are your hopes for the future of Wessex 4x4 Response?

I’d like to see the charity grow sustainably and responsibly, enabling Wessex to have an even greater impact in the future.

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