Firefighter honoured for fundraising efforts

By Mike Dinsdale

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Kaikohe firefighter Tony Scott, pictured receiving a Pride of NZ Award, received a Queen's Service Medal (QSM) in today's honours.
Kaikohe firefighter Tony Scott, pictured receiving a Pride of NZ Award, received a Queen's Service Medal (QSM) in today's honours.

After years of fundraising for good causes and being a key part of the Firefighter and Corporate Sky Tower Stair Challenge, Kaikohe-based firefighter Tony Scott has been awarded a Queen's Service Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Mr Scott said he was humbled by the award but credited his partner Heather, children Charlotte, 18, son Harry, 14, and mum Diane Scott with giving him the strength and support to carry out his work.

"My family are there every step of the way with me and often take part in the events. I couldn't do it without them."

He was honoured for services to the New Zealand Fire Service and the community.

Mr Scott has served as a volunteer firefighter for five brigades across the Auckland and Far North regions for more than 27 years, and as a crash firefighter at Auckland International Airport for 22 years.

Mr Scott is a mentor to firefighters, a dedicated fundraiser, and was a key driver of the Firefighter and Corporate Sky Tower Stair Challenge for the Leukaemia and Blood Cancer Foundation.

The challenges have so far raised more than $5 million in total, and have been running since 2005.

In the most recent running last weekend, Mr Scott was the country's largest individual fundraiser with $17,374.75.

He said it was a wonderful event that had grown from nine people taking part to now more than 850, raising well over $1 million a year.

"The most humbling thing (about receiving his QSM) is that somebody has put my forward for one, that's the ultimate sign of respect from my peers.

"You don't do these things for awards but to make a difference, and because people get so much out of what you do. That's what drives me every year."

He was also the founder of the 9/11 Firefighters Memorial Stair Climb. He is one of the fire service's most dedicated event organisers, and can often be found volunteering at functions or fundraising events.

Mr Scott won the 2014 Pride of New Zealand Fundraiser of the Year award, and a 2014 Kiwibank Local Hero Award.

- Northern Advocate

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