There has been no shortage of blazes to put out for our volunteer rural fire fighters over the last couple of months, and they have proved to be real heroes.
At an awards ceremony this month, the Heretaunga Rural Fire Force volunteers held their biennial awards dinner, recognising the efforts team members put into protecting the community. Six honourary life memberships were presented to: John Gadsby, Allan Coombs, Russell Anderson, Paul Hawke, Trevor Mitchell and Gordon Foster. Two and fiver-year bars were also presented.
Having the ability to recognise the efforts the volunteers go to and the risks they take is very important, said Hastings deputy mayor Sandra Hazlehurst, who attended the ceremony. “The recent Waimarama fire was indicative of the type of situation our volunteers can land up in. It was dangerous work in difficult terrain over long hours. Hopefully we don’t see another fire of that magnitude in a very long time, however knowing these people are ready if it does happen is very comforting.
“These people put in many hours of their own time away from their families for training and then, when they are called on to fight fires, they are away from their families and jobs for what can be days in a row,” Ms Hazlehurst said.
The ceremony came just over a month before the rural volunteer fire force and the urban fire service become one new service nationwide: Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
That will see rural fire services move out from under the command of district and city councils to the new entity. Volunteers will continue to service their far flung communities under the new model, in the same way as they do now.
4 October 2017
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