Fire chief’s 25-year service recognised with star

Arrowtown Fire Brigade Gold Star recipient Mark Woodham (centre) with colleagues Greg Potter ...
Arrowtown Fire Brigade Gold Star recipient Mark Woodham (centre) with colleagues Greg Potter (left) and Garry Hall. PHOTO: PHILIP CHANDLER
It was the Arrowtown Volunteer Fire Brigade’s annual awards night on Saturday, but there was only one star of the show.

That was senior officer Mark Woodham (61), who was presented with a prestigious 25-year Gold Star.

Mr Woodham, who has given 31 years’ service, has also had a four-year stint as fire chief.

Since he joined the brigade, callouts have increased from about 30 a year to almost 200, "which is a massive difference".

A major reason is the brigade is now first responder for medical events, as well as attending many vehicle crashes.

"The reason you join the brigade is to give something back to the community.

"And because most of us are tradies, we join something like the fire brigade, and that’s just a good fit for us," he said.

Recognising the contribution of his wife, Stef, he said, "you join in and the whole family joins up".

Mr Woodham’s predecessor as fire chief, Garry Hall, said his contribution had been "absolutely huge".

"He’s been a valued member through the brigade.

"He just gets in and does the job he’s assigned.

"When you’re firefighting or whatever, the scene changes by the second, and he just stays calm."

As fire chief, he "didn’t take any nonsense from above, and stood up for the brigade".

scoop@odt.co.nz

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