By Scott Simpson, National Party MP for Coromandel
Volunteer Firefighters - we owe you
As the local MP, I often get invited to awards evenings at volunteer fire brigades. These are special occasions where brigade members are recognised for their outstanding service to the community. It’s always great to hear stories from these volunteers and see the camaraderie that exists within a brigade. These men and women come from all walks of life, but they’re united by their dedication to helping others. Volunteer firefighters have seen their roles expand over time and now it’s common to see them first on the scene during emergencies. They encounter some confronting situations, but their training, experience and teamwork ensure they’re prepared to help when called upon. When the siren goes off, it’s reassuring to know they’re on the way. One thing that I find interesting about volunteer firefighters is the length of time many of them serve our communities. Most volunteer firefighters serve for years which means brigades are often made up of people from different generations. Recently, I attended two award presentations, one at Pauanui and the other at Tapu. At Pauanui, Darron Steer was awarded a Gold Star and at Tapu, Colin Ritchie was presented with a double Gold Star. These medals represent 25 years and 50 years of service, respectively, which are tremendous records of volunteering. Thank you and congratulations Darron and Colin. Your service and the sacrifices you make to help people don’t go unnoticed. I have immense respect for the men and women across the electorate and all around the country who sign up to be volunteer firefighters. Whenever someone finds themselves in trouble, it’s these volunteers who answer the call time and again. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.