UFBA CE sending support, aroha and strength to our members
It has been a challenging week for us all, in many ways.
The devastation of the deaths of Craig Stevens and Dave van Zwanenberg, two volunteer firefighters from the Muriwai Volunteer Fire Brigade, is felt deeply throughout the UFBA and our nation.
As we mourn the loss of these two community heroes, let us wrap our strength and aroha around their whanau, friends and the brigade.
We will remember them always, as they served with honour and pride to protect their community.
My heart goes out to the loved ones of Craig and Dave, and I am filled with sorrow for their loss.
We have a UFBA Welfare Liaison working with the Muriwai Volunteer Fire Brigade to provide support. I know they will be feeling immense sadness to lose two of their brigade whanau.
I hope they can see the tremendous support coming from all across Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world.
Fire and Emergency have advised that all station flags will fly at half-mast until further notice.
The widespread destruction of Cyclone Gabrielle is becoming more evident each day.
We know that our members have been working tirelessly through this extreme weather event to protect their communities, and most of you in these impacted areas will continue in the coming days and weeks with the long road ahead to recovery.
As some of you are part of these communities, it is likely that you have also been impacted personally. I would like to remind members that the UFBA Benevolent Fund is available for financial relief, and we have Benevolent Fund representatives located in the impacted areas.
The UFBA has already made many grants available to affected members through this process and I urge brigade leaders to contact the Benevolent Fund to ensure all members have access to support if required.
UFBA Benevolent Fund Application and Guidelines on our website - https://www.ufba.org.nz/need-help/benevolent-fund
During these times of crisis and tragedy, it is easy to forget, and hard to think about ourselves. I encourage you to take a moment, reflect, speak to your whanau, friends and colleagues and reach out for support if you need to.
Kōrero, karakia and kai is what is needed in these times.
The UFBA is working closely with the FENZ Welfare Team to support members. FENZ also has a range of wellbeing options available, at no cost to you, if you need them: https://portal.fireandemergency.nz/how-do-i/safety-health-and-wellbeing/seek-wellbeing-support/
Lastly, I would like to acknowledge the significant effort that has gone towards responding to Cyclone Gabrielle and the previous weather event in January. I am humbled by the unwavering level of commitment you have demonstrated. I, along with your communities, am incredibly proud of and grateful for your service.
I hope you all take care and stay safe.
Noho ora mai rā, ngā mihi nui
nā Bill Butzbach