Five decades of dedication celebrated
‘‘It's a bit humbling, I'm pretty thrilled really...it was a bit like 'is this happening to me?'’’
When Jim Snedden tackles the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge to raise money for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand he will be 75 years old.
The Waiuku man has devoted most of his life to helping others, with a whopping 52 years’ service to the Waiuku Volunteer Fire Brigade. It was these efforts that saw him announced as a recipient for a Queen’s Service Medal, as part of the New Year’s Honours List, for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
He said it was a huge privilege to be recognised for his volunteer services.
‘‘It’s a bit humbling, I’m pretty thrilled really...it was a bit like ‘is this happening to me?’
‘‘It’s definitely recognition of the whole brigade because the brigade itself keeps you stimulated and working the whole time, so it’s good, it has enough intensity to keep you going.’’
Snedden’s first thoughts of joining a fire brigade began when he was 12 years old.
‘‘I first went to the fire station when I was about 12 in the scouts and I thought ‘‘that’ll be interesting’’.
He then went on to join when he was 24 years old and never looked back. He estimated spending around 300 hours a year volunteering with the brigade. ‘‘I like helping the community. ‘‘It was not as regimented as it is now. We didn’t have equipment as good as you do now and health and safety wasn’t even a word in those days.
‘‘We’re there to support each other, which we do and there’s always a joke between the guys to keep their spirits up.’’
He said he was looking forward to meeting other volunteers at the awards ceremony.
‘‘It’ll be interesting, there’s seven other firefighters being awarded the QSM so it’ll be good to meet them.’’
Last year when Snedden completed the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge, he was the oldest competitor to take part. He completed the event under 24 minutes, wearing full firefighting kit.
‘‘I really enjoyed it, it was a bit exhausting, but I trained for it.’’
He has started fundraising for this year’s challenge - if you would like to donate go to firefightersclimb.org.nz and search for Waiuku Volunteer Fire Brigade.
Jim Snedden said it was humbling to have been named as a recipient for a Queen’s Service Medal.