Kaikohe volunteer firefighter Luers Crump joined an elite band when he received his Gold Star for a quarter of a century's service, 25 years ago.
Now he's doubled that, joining an even smaller elite as a double Gold Star recipient.
Mr Crump, and Richard Penney, who received his Gold Star, were feted at the Kaikohe RSA recently. The function attracted four other double Gold Star holders — Jim Powdrill (Kaikohe), Gary Murdock (Dargaville), Mike Mosby (Paihia) and Lindsay Murray (Kaeo).
Mr Crump's achievement has also been noted by the firefighters' magazine K1, which pointed out that he couldn't swim, which had some relevance the first time he entered a burning building "in earnest."
It was in Horeke, in the early 1970s, when Cleaves' store, one of three adjoining buildings that jutted out over the Hokianga Harbour, caught fire.
The story goes that Mr Crump and his twin brother went through the front door, only to find the front half of the wooden floor had burned.
"Balancing precariously on the joists, conscious of the heavy gear they were wearing and the water below, Luers said they got to firm floor at the back of the store to find the freezer full of chickens.
"They weren't frozen any longer… they were cooked chooks.
"He is quite sure he can't remember what happened to them," K1 reported.
"In the end the twins had to abandon their defence of the little that was left of the store."
And while there were many calls to remember after 50 years, he had no trouble recalling the burning house where the heat began having the inevitable effect on shotgun cartridges
Mr Crump spent first five years as a volunteer with the Okaihau brigade, then joined a waiting list to get into Kaikohe.
His brother Harald served for about 28 years before moving to Whangārei, and their father was only a few weeks short of his Gold Star when he took compulsory retirement.