Re­wards of join­ing huge

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By PETER BAYLIS

On De­cem­ber 6 the world recog­nised its vol­un­teers.

Vol­un­teerism con­trib­utes to the core of our com­mu­ni­ties and vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers make up a huge part of the fire ser­vice’s un­paid work­force.

Most of our coun­try towns and small com­mu­ni­ties in­clud­ing Mata­mata are fa­mil­iar with the sound of the fire sirens, the high vis­i­bil­ity of the red fire trucks and the en­dur­ing scenes of fire­fight­ers busy work­ing in the ca­pac­ity of res­cuers and life­savers on our roads, in our homes and at our work­places.

Many chil­dren, too, will re­call with en­thu­si­asm their lo­cal he­roes vis­it­ing their school to de­liver the Fire­wise pro­gramme and at­tend­ing their lo­cal gala.

They were also the ones who scat­tered the most lol­lies from their shiny red trucks at the lo­cal Christ­mas Pa­rade.

What many peo­ple may not know is that these fire­fight­ers are vol­un­teers who have com­mit­ted to a life­time of weekly train­ing and be­ing avail­able to carry out emer­gency work at the drop of a hat.

This means they are of­ten called away from their nor­mal paid work, fam­i­lies and friends to un­der­take res­cue tasks that most of us would be re­luc­tant to face.

Fam­i­lies and em­ploy­ers are com­mit­ted too, as they face the in­evitable dis­rup­tion and sac­ri­fice of emer­gency callouts.

East­ern Waikato Fire Area Man­ager Brent Mortensen said vol­un­teers are ex­cep­tional peo­ple who come from many walks of life and have a strong sense of com­mit­ment to their com­mu­nity.

Vol­un­teers of­ten talk about the great friends and the strong sense of ca­ma­raderie they build in their work, and the op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­velop many em­ploy­ment and life skills.

The Fire Ser­vice would not be able to func­tion with­out vol­un­teers and they con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to our econ­omy and the fab­ric of our com­mu­ni­ties.

We value our Vol­un­teers and I would like thank all our peo­ple for their tremen- dous ef­forts through what has been a par­tic­u­larly chal­leng­ing year.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, es­pe­cially re­gard­ing join­ing the Fire Ser­vice vol­un­teers, con­tact Peter Baylis on 027 470 0165, Shane Brom­ley on 027 279 1071 or on Kim Velds­man 07 867 9052.

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