THE stars aligned on Saturday evening when the Mossburn Volunteer Fire Brigade finally gathered to honour two long-serving members of its brigade at the Mossburn Community Centre.
Chief Fire Officer Lance Hellewell and Volunteer Business Support Jo Kenning were both presented their 25-year Service Gold Stars from United Fire Brigades Association board director Jason Prendergast, Fire & Emergency New Zealand area manager Julian Tohiariki and Gold Star president Mark Donald.
The pair had both reached their 25 years’ service last year. But celebrations had to be delayed because of associated pandemic risks.
Mr Hellewell, who is the local garage owner, said it was always a proud thing to be able to receive recognition from peers.
‘‘But it’s also recognition the brigade is also a good place to be because you wouldn’t do it if you didn’t enjoy it.’’
Balancing his volunteer work with business was not a difficult task as ‘‘it’s not the busiest station in the world’’.
‘‘There’s a good balance there, looking after your own community. That has rewards in itself.’’
He initially got into the brigade after being asked by the fire station chief if he would like to join and now has a son following in his footsteps.
A voluntary ambulance shift on Friday evenings based at the Lumsden St John station was another interest which gave him ‘‘a good mindset change from work’’.
‘‘I enjoy the challenges that it has.’’
He believed volunteer work provided a good opportunity to get involved with a community and make great friendships.
‘‘You make good mates in the brigades, but also when you go away on training courses or challenges.’’
Many have led to lifetime friendships.
Volunteer Business Support Jo Kenning first stepped into her administration role 25 years ago because her late husband Stu, who was also volunteering with the brigade, encouraged her to take up the role.
‘‘It was a great honour to receive it [the gold star].’’
Her colleagues described her as a humble team member they could not do without and heavily relied upon.
Mr Hellewell said Mrs Kenning quietly worked away in the background taking care of ‘‘a vital job that needs to be done’’.
The brigade had about 12 members who held gold stars and one member who had served for 51 years.
Mossburn Volunteer Fire Brigade 2022 Honours 25 Years Service:
Gold Star: CFO Lance Hellewell; VBS Jo Kenning
5 year Medal: SFF JK Burnett; QFF A Shearer
3 Year Cert: FF D McMillin; QFF O Trusler
2 Year Gold Bars: 27 Years Service, SFF R Naylor; 31 Years Service, SFF S Trusler
2 Year Silver Bars: 7 Years Service, OS D Beattie; 9 Years, SFF M Brenssell; 11 Years, SO T Naylor; 11 Years, QFF D Findlay; 13 Years, DCFO D Stalker; 17 Years, OS B Taylor; 23 Years, SSO D Daly.
Long service & good conduct medal: Group Manager Hamish Angus.