Volunteers' efforts hailed


Three volunteer stalwarts of the Napier Civil Defence had their efforts recognised on Monday night through the presentation of long-service awards.

Anthony Ganderton received a framed award for 10 years' service, Lesley Harrison for 20 years and Eric Lamb for 30.

"When I first started I had a white hard hat and a tin box, like an old ammunition tin, to put papers and things in," Mr Lamb said with a smile. "But that was 30 years ago - it's all changed now."

During his time as a volunteer he had been involved in exercise planning and served as welfare manager for Napier - his duties in the latter were well used during the Chaucer Rd siege when he and everyone they could call in worked to assist people unable to return to their homes as gunman Jan Molenaar "held the city to ransom".

"That was an extraordinary time - you can plan for tsunamis and earthquakes but you can never plan for something like that."

Mr Lamb said he had reduced his involvement in recent years but remained a part of it.

He was also a community patrol member, was involved with Neighbourhood Support and joined other volunteers from Taradale Rotary to clean and care for the Dolbel Reserve.

"It's very important for people to keep themselves occupied, and there are so many things people can do in terms of volunteering," he said.

The awards were presented at the Napier City Council Chambers by Minister of Civil Defence Chris Tremain, the director of Civil Defence, John Hamilton, and Mayor Barbara Arnott.

The year has been a busy one for Napier Civil Defence and the volunteer team, who had to work to gain NZQA unit standards to become fully competent in responding to an emergency.

Napier City Council community-development manager Antoinette Campbell said: "Our Civil Defence organisation relies on volunteers to staff our civil defence centres and emergency operations centre.

"They undertake regular training, perform duties that maintain the organisation on a daily basis and commit themselves to being available during times of community crisis."

In the past year 30 newcomers had joined the 48 existing volunteers, with 14 dedicated to the satellite communications trailer.

"The ceremony was our way of showing how much we value the hard work and dedication of our volunteers, along with recognising the number of years they have dedicated to the service."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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