Kiwis up for honours after a life of service

By Amy McGillivray

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Shane Beech.
Shane Beech.

Vicki Wood - Lifetime Achievement

FOR fifteen years Vicki Wood has been rostered on call - one week on, one week off - ready to rush to the side of Tauranga residents dealing with the most horrendous of situations.

The Tauranga woman is a Victim Support volunteer and is often called out to support victims of crime or trauma throughout the Western Bay.

Ms Wood's role requires her to go with police to notify families of the death of a loved one, explain the coronial process to those families, go with them to identify the deceased, support families whose loved one has been murdered and continue to support them in the years ahead through the court process and parole hearings.

She does not hesitate to rush to the scene of a tragedy when her phone rings in the middle of the night and has attended countless sudden deaths and suicides and worked with hundreds of families to ensure they are receiving professional grief counselling.

She has for those families been the first port of call when they are struggling or don't understand the situation they have found themselves in and need clarification.

Still only in her 40s, Ms Wood sacrifices her personal life to support those in need.

Shane Beech - Emergency Services

The Maketu fire chief is thought of by many as the glue that holds the community's emergency services together.

Shane Beech has been a volunteer fire fighter for the Maketu fire service since 1990 and has been fire chief for the past 10 years.

He has driven the development of the Maketu unit from a small team with one engine to a unit that now includes two engines, a purpose-built emergency rescue truck and a dedicated ambulance including trained volunteers.

Mr Beech has also put thousands of voluntary hours into the station building renovation and additions and can be found attending emergency callouts at all times of day and night.

He is also one of the founding members of Maketu Volunteer Sea Rescue Service established in 2002 (Maketu Coastguard) and is a senior trained crew member and has been president of the organisation since 2008.

Mr Beech played a major role in the sourcing and building of the new EastPack Rescue Coastguard boat launched in April 2013 and led a small team to establish the new Coastguard building beside the Maketu fire station and the new facility down at the Kaituna Cut.

The Maketu man is also chairman of the Maketu Community Board and on top of that he and his wife Raewyn run their own business, the Maketu Beech Holiday Park.

Buddy Harwood - Bravery and Heroism

The former Athenree volunteer fire fighter who now lives in Canada doesn't think twice before risking his life to save others wherever he is in the world.

Buddy Harwood, 20, was on his way to Whistler on June 7 when he saved a family of five from a burning car seconds before it exploded.

He and his girlfriend were driving when they noticed an upside down car on fire on the side of the road.

Mr Harwood ran down a bank to the car and saw a young boy banging on the window so he got a rock and smashed a window to pull him out.

Another man sprayed the car with a fire extinguisher while Mr Harwood cut the seatbelt off the father who was driving and pulled him out. He then pulled out the grandfather in the back and reached through the crushed window to pull the youngest boy out.

By this point the car was fully engulfed in flames so he grabbed the mother from the back seat and ran up the bank just as the car exploded behind him.

Mr Harwood and other bystanders performed CPR on the grandfather but he could not be saved. The rest of the family was airlifted to hospital.

He also saved a woman trapped in her partially submerged car during major flooding that hit the Western Bay in April last year. He smashed a window with his elbow and helped the woman, in her 60s, to climb out without being swept away in the knee deep water.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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