Five decades of ded­i­ca­tion cel­e­brated

Franklin County News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - BRIAR HUB­BARD

‘‘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.

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