Fire officer earns Gold Star for service


A desire to do good in the community has resulted in a Gold Star for one of Luggate’s long-standing fire officers.

Alan Humphrey will be awarded a Gold Star to recognise 25 years’ service during the combined annual honours night for the Luggate, Hawea and Wanaka Fire and Emergency NZ branches this weekend.

Mr Humphrey said his motivation for joining the Luggate Volunteer Fire Brigade was to be “part of the community and to help out”.

“I was no good at playing rugby or anything like that so thought I’ve got to join a team somewhere and see if I can help.”

He joined the Luggate brigade initially, before moving to Invercargill where he also served with the fire service for five years.

Mr Humphrey returned to Luggate, and naturally gravitated back to the fire service where he is now station officer.

Times have changed significantly since his earliest years in the service, including the number of callouts and the reasons behind them.

“A typical callout when I first started – I think we probably got about 12 calls a year – most were scrub fires,” he said.

“Now, we are up to about 80 [callouts] a year.”

A large portion of those now included medical calls to assist St John, which has meant using the brigade’s defibrillator “a few times”.

One of those calls that came to his mind was an incident in which a man was having a medical event at Warbirds Over Wanaka.

Mr Humphrey was already on site among a range of other medical professionals who provided the man with the life-saving care he needed.

“He came back [to the show] two years later and thanked us.

“That’s one of the good stories,” he said.

The Luggate Volunteer Fire Brigade has about 18 personnel on its books.

He said numbers had not always been that high, but with the town growing and more people moving in, it had helped.

More were always welcome, and with that comes a process Mr Humphrey had enjoyed.

“It’s not for everybody, but we’ve got a great bunch of guys here at the moment. When you’ve been doing it this long, you probably get more enjoyment training up the young ones and seeing the enthusiasm all over again.”

  • A range of other awards will also be presented during the annual honours night.

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