THEY are the unfunded, largely unknown and frequently unrecognised people who bring relief to grieving families.
And while Timmy Carey and his colleagues admit that their role as search-and-rescue divers is not for everyone, it is an activity that has brought finality to countless homes around the country.
A group of 96 divers was yesterday honoured for the first time after years of service in aid of the community -- a service which frequently involves retrieving the bodies of those missing in the water.
Mr Carey and his father David were among the search and rescue divers to receive medals from Justice Minister Dermot Ahern for their lengthy voluntary service in finding missing people.
The father and son, from Fermoy in Co Cork, continue a long tradition of divers in their family.
Some 90pc of the dives they go on result in finding people who have died in the water, said Timmy.
"Our task is to give a small bit of respect and dignity to the family," he said.
The 96 divers went on to a reception held by President Mary McAleese in Aras an Uachatrain.