The UFBA would like to congratulate the six firefighters who received the Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) this month in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. A celebration was held at Government House on 11 September 2014.
“It is a just reward for years of commitment to the Fire Service and to your community. I know when you first signed up the Queen's Service Medal would have been the last thing on your mind,” said Bryan Styles, UFBA President.
“I am amazed at your passion and drive which has allowed you to stay in the service so long. Tony 45 years, John 47, Rex 50, Bill 45, Walter 29 and Donald 40 years. Between the five of you that is over 256 years of service, which is awesome,” he said.
The NZFS Commission Deputy Chairman, Dave McFarlane, congratulated everyone: “It is a humbling experience to attend investiture functions. We get to meet and talk to people from around the country who have quietly and selflessly given their time and commitment to the Fire Service, often for decades. They have all made a real difference to the lives of people in their communities. In many cases, they saved some of those lives. To be recognised by the Queen for this service to your community, and to the country, is a great honour and it is hard-earned.”
Among them were the Collings brothers, John and Tony, from Taihape Volunteer Fire Brigade who are the first two brothers to be honoured with a QSM in the same year.
Tony said “I joined the Fire Service in 1965. My boss at the garage told me that joining was part of my automotive apprenticeship. He was Lionel Howard, CFO of the Taihape Brigade at the time. It wasn’t a hard decision as our family had a long association with the Brigade. There were two other firemen at the garage which meant four people would leave the workshop when the siren sounded.”
“The QSM was a huge surprise and a lovely recognition of the service I helped to give. The medal was gained with a lot of help from my family and workmates. I was very happy to get recognised by my community.”
His brother, John, was delighted, “The QSM medal is the biggest achievement of my 47-year career as it was never ever expected. Above all, getting it with my brother Tony was a highlight. We both feel very proud along with our families, it’s taken the Collings family service to the community to around 240 years.”
Our congratulations to all of you - very well deserved!
Photo, from left: John Collings, Walter Russell, Bill Rackham, Tony Collings, Rex Noble, Don Shanks.
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