Fire Brigade Honours Night

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By MARGARET ANDREWS

Thirteen members of the Otaki Volunteer Fire Brigade received service awards acknowledging a total 233 years as fire fighters at their Honours Night in September.F_Oc14_FB-Hons-Nite-(6)

Chief Fire Officer Ian King opened the official proceedings for the evening inviting Otaki Member of Parliament Nathan Guy to present a Long Service Good Conduct medal to Blair Bregman on his completing 15 years with the Otaki volunteers.

“This is the eighth year I have attended your Honours Night. Well done and thanks for the service you give to your community,” Mr Guy said. “I know many or most of your callouts are to road crashes – ultimately building the economic highway will result in fewer crashes. I hear you have a waiting list of keen volunteers (ready to join). Thank you very much for your service.”

He acknowledged the two Otaki firefighters injured in a recent road crash.

Mr King spoke of the community support for the electric blanket testing day held earlier. Thanks to Paul Pearce Electrical who provided five electricians to test the blankets. Fire fighter Rory McLennan, an electrician at Paul Pearce’s, received a certificate of thanks on behalf of the brigade. An infrared camera was purchased recently, with thanks to a grant from the Philipp Family Foundation.

“Our responses are up 25 per cent on last year,” Mr King told the full Memorial Hall gathering of fire fighters, wives, partners and families. “Congratulations to all those members of the Otaki Brigade receiving awards tonight. Our thanks to the employers who allow their staff time off to protect our community and special thanks to the wives and partners who have put up with the interruptions to callouts over the past year.”

Mr King also acknowledged the two brigade members injured the previous week.

Levin’s Colin Lawrie presented the awards to 12 fire fighters. He is past president of the Wellington Professional Fire Fighters Association and chair of the Volunteer Fire Brigades Association.

Those receiving United Fire Brigades Association service medals, bars and certificates included Qualified Fire Fighter (QFF) Hoani Taratoa, whose three year certificate was presented by his father, Richard Taratoa. Fire fighters receive a silver bar every second year after five years’ service acknowledging their years with the brigade, after 25 years they receive a gold bar for every two years served. QFF Ben Carson, five year medal. Silver bars were presented to Fire Fighter (FF) Makanesi Kata seven years, Senior FF Matt Kymbrekos nine years, Station Officer (SO) Mike Watson 11 years, SO Blair Bregman 15 years, Senior SO Graeme Rankin 17 years, SFF Reg Royal 21 years, QFF Bruce Cooksley 21 years; two year gold bars were awarded to SFF John McMurchie 35 years, Chief Fire Officer Ian King 39 years and Deputy Chief Brent Bythell 43 years.

Following the formal part of the evening, it was time to relax and dance the night away to the music of Rubber Band and snack at the delicious supper.