Family cheer as fire chief surprised
Matamata fire chief Kevin Curtis thought it was strange his daughters were attending a local Lions meeting held at his fire station.
He thought it was even stranger that his mother and father-in-law were there at the December 9 event.
When former fire chief, and Lions member, Garry Stanley presented Kevin with a Melvin Jones Fellowship, the most prestigious award the Lions can give, the penny dropped.
‘‘Forty years of membership of any organisation is significant but the commitment involved in the role of a volunteer firefighter is pretty much unparalleled in any other organisation,’’ Garry said.
‘‘No other organisation that I know of requires its volunteers to be on call for 24 hours, seven days a week and to fulfil that responsibility for 40 years is a tremendous achievement.’’
On top of that, Garry said, all firefighters are required to attend 66 per cent of all weekly trainings and other musters.
In the 40 years Kevin has been a member there were 2,872 such musters, of which he achieved an average attendance record of 94.74 per cent and in 14 of those years, achieved 100 per cent attendance.
Garry acknowledged Kevin’s wife and daughters for their support.
‘‘A firefighter cannot function for any length of time without the full support of his wife and family and you have willingly provided that support. Thank you for that Carol and thank you also to your two lovely daughters Leanne and Natalie who have had to tolerate the uncertainty surrounding family events.’’
The only other Matamata fire brigade member who has received the award, for serving the station for forty years, was Warren Feek in 2014.
The Lions also gave Curtis a cheque for $2,500 which will go towards buying a Stab-fast stabilisation system.
This is a stabiliser that can be attached to crashed, overturned vehicles.
‘‘At the moment we use cribbing, which is basically timber, and you have to have one crew member constantly checking it is holding,’’ Kevin explained.
Walton School also donated $125 to the fire brigade from their recent disco.
Matamata fire chief Kevin Curtis’ mother-inlaw Betty Stuck, daughter Leanne Curtis, wife and Lions secretary Carol Curtis, daughter Natalie Curtis and fatherin-law Russell Stuck all attended a Lions meeting at his station where he was surprised with the Melvin Jones Fellowship.