Colossal catering effort for firefighters

Pictured with incident controller and Roxburgh Fire Chief, David Rooney (far right) are some of...
Pictured with incident controller and Roxburgh Fire Chief, David Rooney (far right) are some of the volunteers (back, from left) Shaun and Anne Paringatai , of Dunedin, Sharon Booth, Jenny Wilson and Paddy Sim, all of Roxburgh.In front are Kevin Blackledge (left), of Roxburgh, and Des Reedy, of Gisborne. Photo by Lynda Van Kempen.
A continuous stream of food for the 60-strong team of firefighters and pilots working on the Roxburgh wildfire appeared "by magic", incident controller David Rooney says.

"And the community here is magic, that's what I'd say. They did us proud."

Mr Rooney, who is also Roxburgh's fire chief, said Roxburgh and Millers Flat residents, together with people on holiday in the area, did a sterling job catering for the army of volunteers.

The Roxburgh Area School home economics room was set up as the base, and teacher Jenny Wilson was one of a team of about 15 people helping with catering.

"People just pull together to do everything they can to help each other. Everyone knows the firemen and we know they were up since 5am on New Year's Day because we heard the siren go off then [for a smaller grass fire]."

Some of the catering volunteers helped all night then went to work the next morning.

Jimmy's Pies, savouries, and hot chips were among the food which "arrived" at the base from businesses in town.

Volunteers made hundreds of sandwiches and provided coffee to the firefighters throughout the evening and following day.

lynda.van.kempen@odt.co.nz

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