Last week The Diamonds in the Rough Emergency Rescue team attended and won two awards at the International Mines Rescue Body (IMRB) competition in Beckley, West Virginia.
The team won second in the world in Rope Rescue and third in the world in Theory and Technical. The wins are deeply moving, as the team gathered for the first time from all across Canada less than two weeks ago, on September 5th 2022, and trained together for only four days before competing in their first event.
This year the team consists of eight women from eight different mine sites and seven different companies. Kari Lentowicz, Coach & Co-founder of Diamonds in the Rough, says she is proud of the work the team put into prepping for the competition.
"They have gelled so well as a team that you wouldn't know that they haven't been training together for years. They are a team to beat!"
The Diamonds in the Rough Emergency Rescue (DITR) organization was first formed in 2018 to mentor, train, and raise the profile of women in industry and in non-traditional roles through mine rescue. Lentowicz says they are dedicated to raising awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.
"Our ultimate goal is to show that women and non-binary people can do the work that the men can do in regards to mine rescue. For years, women have been cast aside with the thought that they can't physically do the job. We most definitely can and want to show the world that. In doing so, we hope to increase the skill level, confidence, and leadership of underrepresented groups and also the acceptance of their belonging in the mining industry."
The IMRB competition encourages those from all around the world to learn and showcase skills in emergency response. For DITR, it not only offers a great opportunity for showcasing their talent, but it also provides a chance to inspire future generations of women.
"We want to ensure that there are visible role models for young girls and women - without minority groups in these roles, it is often hard to perceive that one can do it as well. We will be that example for them," says Lentowicz.
Covergalls strives to develop safety gear that helps support individuals like the DITR team. It's why Covergalls founder, Alicia Woods, was so excited to hear about their project.
"It's amazing to see the hard work and dedication of the Diamonds in the Rough team. They are such an incredible group and I'm so happy to see their recent success at the competition in West Virginia. A huge congratulations to them!"
Efforts to increase the profile of women in mining and other industrial and trade jobs, which have historically been male-dominated, can’t take effect unless we take action and support everyone in our communities. We are so proud of the hard work and training that these amazing women put in, and we can't wait to see the future DITR team accomplishments!
And if you want to join the team and compete in future competitions, don't hesitate! According to Lentowicz the process is not hard.
"DITR will be putting out information on our application process in October of this year. We don't require competition experience or years of experience in mine rescue. All we require is valid First Aid, valid mine rescue certificate, and a passion for mine rescue. In fact, the majority of this year's team has less than 3 years of experience and only half have competition experience."
As a non-profit, the DITR organization is dependent on sponsorship to run their projects and travel to competitions. Lentowicz says they already have plans and a vision for what they want to be doing in the next four years, and always welcome extra support.
"When Alicia called me with a resounding YES to our request for sponsorship, I was floored with her enthusiasm and support. I knew then that we had a chance to make my dream come true," says Lentowicz.