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''You are an inspiration to us all and prove what can be done. Most of us retire at 65,'' Chief Fire Officer Sam Leask said as Mr Hickey handed over the cheque.
''In fact, we're short of firefighters, so we might have to sign you up.''
Mr Hickey said the brigade did an excellent job and he was grateful there was a first response unit based in his home town.
''I've enjoyed the services of the unit. It was about three years ago, when I had a bit of a heart attack and they were called out to me - I couldn't speak highly enough of them.''
Mr Leask said the unit was called out 30 to 40 times a year and the service was funded by donations. It operated with the assistance of the New Zealand Fire Service and St John and the vehicle was run by the brigade. The Omakau brigade was looking for three new recruits, preferably aged between 17 and 65, to train as firefighters.