Last month Station Officer Richard (Ritchie) Kuklinski became the 26th member of the Inglewood Volunteer Fire Brigade to be awarded the United Fire Brigade Association of New Zealand Gold Star Medal, presented to members of the New Zealand Fire Service who have completed 25 year's service.

Presenting Ritchie with this medal was ex chief fire officer Joe Kuklinski, who is Ritchie's father.

Joe is a double Gold Star holder of the Inglewood Brigade, having completed 50 year's service, something Ritchie says he aspires to do.

As well as receiving his Gold Star, Ritchie was made a life member of the Inglewood Volunteer Fire Brigade.


The formal presentation and announcement of this life membership was made by chief fire officer Cameron Gillespie.

Cameron described Ritchie as a very dedicated member of the Inglewood Brigade, who is always keen to assist in brigade activities.

Area Commander Pat Fitzell, on behalf of the New Zealand Service, presented a gift to Ritchie thanking him for his service.

Also present were MP for Taranaki King Country Barbra Kuriger, and New Plymouth District councillor Marie Pearce.

The Taranaki Provincial Fire Brigade Association was represented by current chairman Dennis Gibbon, while the MC for the evening was an ex Inglewood Fire Brigade member Michael Dombroski, now assistant area commander for the Wellington area.

Ritchie said he has enjoyed his time with the brigade, and appreciates all the friends he has made in the brigade.