Fire force cel­e­brates gold stars

Clutha Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - DIANNE MILLER

‘‘Pa­p­a­towai VRFF is to be con­grat­u­lated on the num­ber of younger mem­bers - un­com­mon in fire brigades.’’

Pa­p­a­towai Vol­un­teer Ru­ral Fire Force cel­e­brated and ac­knowl­edged the long ser­vice of three of its mem­bers on Satur­day.

Gold stars were pre­sented to Phillip (Pip) Martin and Rod­ney Ross, who had both served 28 years with the bri­gade, along with Richard Lean for 26 years ser­vice with the VRFF.

An evening of cel­e­bra­tions started at the Pa­p­a­towai Fire Sta­tion at 5pm.

The of­fi­cial party in­cluded Clutha District mayor Bryan Cado­gan, Clutha District coun­cil­lor Hi­lary McNab and her hus­band Keith, Fire and Emer­gency New Zealand (FENZ) Area 5 man­ager Mike Grant and his wife Lor­raine and Otago prin­ci­pal ru­ral fire of­fi­cer Graeme Still.

They were given a tour of the Catlins-based sta­tion.

Evening events were held at the Ta­hakopa Hall, which in­cluded in­vited guests, past mem­bers and peo­ple from other brigades.

Lean put down a hangi for the evening meal and a bar­be­cue was also in ac­tion.

Past Pa­p­a­towai Vol­un­teer Ru­ral Fire Force chief fire of­fi­cer and found­ing mem­ber Don Jenks, now re­tired, spoke about the in­ci­dents that sparked the de­vel­op­ment of the fire force, the in­volve­ment of the coun­cil, Civil De­fence, and for­mer prin­ci­pal ru­ral fire of­fi­cer Sel­wyn Vigers.

Still con­grat­u­lated the re­cip­i­ents and com­mended them on the ser­vice to the com­mu­nity. He spoke about the evo­lu­tion of the fire ser­vice with forestry con­trol, coun­cils, the Otago Ru­ral Fire Au­thor­ity and fi­nally, the amal­ga­ma­tion to form FENZ, which came into ef­fect on July 1.

FENZ man­ager Grant pre­sented the 25-year ser­vice medals to the three men.

He con­grat­u­lated Pa­p­a­towai for its mem­ber­ship strength of 17 and the num­ber of younger mem­bers who had joined, which was not a com­mon trend in fire brigades, he said.

More train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties would be­come avail­able as the new struc­ture con­tin­ued to evolve over the next few years, he said.

Pa­p­a­towai chief fire of­fi­cer Tony Miller thanked the fam­i­lies of the re­cip­i­ents for the time they had given. He also ac­knowl­edged the other crew mem­bers and their part­ners.

BRYAN CADO­GAN

Pa­p­a­towai VRFF gold star re­cip­i­ents, front row Pip Martin, Richard Lean and Rod­ney Ross and wives Janet Lean and Marg Martin.

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