Mayor's praise for firefighters

Dunedin Mayor Peter Chin has praised firefighters for their dedication and professionalism in keeping the city's residents safe.

Speaking at a Fire Service honours parade and presentation on Saturday, he also praised the partners, spouses and families of firefighters for making sacrifices to enable their loved ones to continue working for the community.

The fire engine bays at the Dunedin Central Fire Station were filled with about 150 people, including firefighters, family members and dignitaries, during the presentation.

Dunedin Deputy Chief Fire Officer Trevor Tilyard said there had previously been concerns among the three emergency services about behaviour-related problems in the city's North End.

After Mr Chin became mayor six years ago, he had helped bring stakeholders together, including the police, Fire Service, the University of Otago and the Otago University Students Association, and improvements had resulted, including a drop in the number of fires in the area.

The United Fire Brigades Association honoured four firefighters with 25-year gold stars: Station Officers Mark Dyer, Ray Adams, and Brent Foster and Senior Firefighter Peter Hessian.

Commenting in an interview, they emphasised that they still greatly enjoyed their work, particularly for its variety and unpredictability, the strong element of community service, and the comradeship of fellow firefighters.

"You don't know what you're going to be doing in the next 10 minutes," SO Foster added.

As if to highlight such challenges and uncertainties, firefighters were called out to rescue a teenager from the roof of a city building shortly after the 2pm ceremony was over.

Other awards:
Three-year certificate: Michael Adam, Barbara Olah, Kate Payne, Martin Hastie, Michael Harrison.

Five-year medal: Michael Loo, John Smalls, Kate Payne, Michelle Harvey, Rob Bevin.

Silver bars: Kate Hill, Mark Townsend, Emma Baird, Ed Oskam (7 years' service); Peter Leckie (9); Geoff Powell, Martin Jansen, Phillip Marsh, Anthony O'Neill, Brent Key (13); Craig Geddes (15); Jason Hill (17); Peter Douglas, Greg Wilson (19); Mark Leonard, Kerry McNamara (23).

Gold bars: Greg Casey, Gerard Vorgers, Chris Ryalls, Howard Weir, Murray Little, John Griffiths, John Mackay, Robert Torrance (27); Bruce McGavin, Alan McNeill, Lindsay Rae (29); Alan McNeill, George Kemmett (31); Mervyn Hobbs, Benjamin Pitelan (33); Colin Aicken, Richard Yardley (35); Neil Morris, Terrence Byers, Allan Sparks (37); Noel Botting, Kenneth Campbell, Ross Walker, Colin Astle, Bevan Moreton (39); Jeffrey Woodford, Keith Maydon (41); George Tetzlaff (43); Angus McLean (45); John Bethune (47).


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