A lifelong passion for community service was rewarded recently when Glen MacPherson, the senior station officer with the Kaka Point Fire Brigade, was awarded his Fire and Emergency New Zealand gold star for 25 years service.
“My father was a firefighter at Kaka Point for many, many years and I was always about the station as a youngster so I just followed him into the brigade,” Mr MacPherson said.
“Back when dad was involved, it was only a rural fire unit, and even though I have been awarded the first 25 year gold star there, I am definitely not the longest-serving member of the brigade.
“Dad and many of those early volunteers served for 40 years or more, but sadly haven’t been recognised because they didn’t start out with the service,” he said.
Mr MacPherson said over his 25 years of service he had experienced a wide variety of emergency callouts – he had attended everything from cliff rescues to motor vehicle accidents and house fires to searches.
“Each callout is different, you often don’t know what you are going to find when you turn up at an event.
“The weirdest callout I can remember was to a van roll-over a few years back. When we got there it was out in the middle of a swamp, upside down and no-one had got out.
“We thought ‘Oh dear, no-one survived’, but when we got closer to the van we found everyone still alive and well but trapped inside as they didn’t want to come out.
“They were Brazilians and thought the crocodiles would get them if they left the safety of the van,” he said.
Mr MacPherson said the Kaka Point Brigade was a family unit, where everyone looked after each other.
“The brigade is all about helping each other – it’s a good close-knit group of guys who are all supported by their families.
“I am very appreciative of the support my wife, Sheree, and my two children give me.
“I forget the number of times she has had to get up in the middle of the night to shut the door after I’ve raced out to answer a callout.
“It’s a great brigade and we’re always looking for new members,” he said.