Volunteers honoured for fire service

By Morgan Tait

Hastings volunteer firefighters were recognised for their service at an awards ceremony this week.

The Forest and Rural Fire Association of New Zealand (FRFANZ) and the National Rural Fire Authority presented long service medals to more than 150 dedicated firefighters at the Hawke's Bay Opera House on Wednesday night.

The firefighters, from 11 different areas of the district, have served from three to 40 years.

Maraekakaho man Joe Simmons received a special 40-year service medal and Hylton McDermott from Maraetotara received a 25-year service medal.

Other distinguished awards included four 10-year bars and 104 Year of the Volunteer Medals.

Hastings Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers told the crowd there was more to volunteer firefighting than extinguishing blazes and heroic rescues.

"People from all walks of life become volunteers and that commitment is much more than just being available during an emergency," she said.

"There are meetings and training courses to attend, and they have to be available to answer a call at a moment's notice."

Mrs Bowers touched on recent events where the volunteers' efforts were outstanding.

"We don't have to think back very far to recall the amazing work done by our volunteers during the coastal flooding of Hawke's Bay in late April, 2011. The volunteers were quickly on the job, assisting in the evacuation of residents as the water rose around their homes.

"These are the people who are on the ground, making sure everyone is safe in times of emergency and working to control fires in our rural areas. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to these people, and it is fitting that we honour them with service medals."

Five Hastings crews were registered with the FRFANZ, including Heretaunga, Maraekakaho, Maretotara, Matapiro and Waimarama.

FRFANZ represented organisations working in fire protection in forests and rural areas of New Zealand. The service medals presented by FRFANZ this week were awarded when a person completed every three years of service.

Hastings volunteer firefighters not registered with FRFANZ received International Year of the Volunteer medals, which were awarded by the National Rural Fire Authority. The authority co-ordinates rural fire control nationally.

Volunteer rural firefighter Long Service Medal recipients

Heretaunga: Hamish Hanara, Owen Taumua, Rohan Gordon, Michelle Frey, Blair Gregory, Dillon Pay, Allan Percy, Sheridan Pirie, Jason Tickner, Nathan Walter, Troy Wire, Gordon Foster (bar - 10 year), Duncan Frew (bar - 10 year), Richard Taylor (bar - 10 year).

Maraekakaho: Joe Simmons (40 years), Ben Noetzli (3 years), Alistair Nicoll (3 years), Maree Simpson (9 years), John Simpson (15 years), Greg Shaw (6 years), Murray Beswick (3 years), Wim van Gestel (3 years), Jim Mundy (3 years), Daniel Hansen (3 years), Kerry Young (3 years), Dakin Anderson (3 years), Sarah Hansen, Ross Williams, Mark Gilchrist, Jonathan Simmons, Yvonne Steers, Malcolm Baker, Ian Cramp.

Maraetotara: David McBride (12 years), Marty Dunningham, (12 years), Hylton McDermott (25 years), David Price (18 years), Ralph Williams (12 years), Dirk Waldon (6 years), John Parker (15 years), Martyn Repko (6 years), Gerry Steenkamer (12 years), Joy Angus (18 years), Tim Dalton, Russell Dalldorf.

Matapiro: Hugh McRae (6 years), Alan Beeden (15 years), Craig Keighley (18 years), Mathew Magill (18 years), Alec Burnside (6 years), Craig Foote (15 years), Phillip Atkins (18 years), Peter Hyslop (18 years), Mark Agnew.

Patoka: Robert Poulton, Brett Lawson, Nick Dawson, Garth Train, Tony Farquharson, Gary Brady, Lyall Church.

Puketitiri: Tim Dinneen, Bill Mott, Simon Turner, David Evans, Craig Skeet, Damon Hunt, Chris Cross, John Chittick, Kevin Baker, Grant Reaburn, Jeremy Crosse, Greg Percy.

Rissington: Patrick O'Rourke, Peter Lynam, Alan Harrington, Guy Matches, Kelly Matches, Bryan Farquhason, Don Barrie.

Sherenden: Andrew Russell, Sam Russell, Mark Watson.

Te Pohue: Thomas King, Peter King, Murray Charteris, Dillon King, Des Pledger, Brydon Charteris.

Torran: Campbell Walker, Spencer Hawkins, John McPhee, Derek Richmond.

Waimarama: Peter Morrell (18 years), Mike Stokes (12 years), Mike O'Malley (15 years), George Ashcroft (15 years), Richard Gaddum (9 years), Paul Gibb (6 years), Alec Henderson (3 years), Anne Parker (6 years), Dave Morris (9 years), Murray Cheyne (9 years), Shona Morrell (18 years), Bubs Swan-Taroa, Marcus Hellmore, Seb Allen, Jim McDonald, Bruce Strachan, Ross Taylor.

Waiwhare: Dave Ward, Dave Coe, Gibby Te Ngahue, Graham Harvey, Malcolm Adsett.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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