It was an afternoon of celebration and honour at the fire service awards between Luggate, Lake Hawea and Wanaka brigades on Saturday.
Firefighters and associated members dusted off their uniforms and glammed up for the afternoon to commemorate several award recipients at the Luggate Fire Station.
Luggate Chief Fire Officer Rod Anderson was honoured with the double gold star medal for his 50 years of service at the station.
The award was presented by representatives from United Fire Brigades’ Association, Otago/Southland Provincial Fire Brigades’ Association and the Gold Star Association.
During the presentation, CFO Anderson was joined on stage by his children, Matt Anderson and Rachel O’Connell.
He was commended for his 99.83% attendance to call-outs over his years of service.
CFO Anderson expressed gratitude and humility in his acceptance of the award.
‘‘I don’t really know where the person’s gone that everybody’s been talking about.
‘‘There’s been a hell of a lot of praise come down to somebody, but can’t quite figure out where he is.’’
He acknowledged the empty chair beside him, vacated to represent his late wife, Cec.
‘‘We were married in April 1972, and I joined the fire brigade in May 1972.
‘‘As you can appreciate, Cec shared my entire fire service journey with me.
‘‘Without the support I got from her and my family, there’s no way I could have put anything like the effort into fire brigade like I have.
‘‘Luggate Fire Brigade islike my immediate family, and all the other brigades in the area are my extended family.
‘‘To be able to talk to any one of you and appreciate the work you do, and know the support you give to everybody else, makes things so much easier.’’
Three generations of the Anderson family now serve in the Luggate Fire Brigade.
Son Matt is Deputy Chief Fire Officer, and grandson Will joined last month as a firefighter.
More than 34 members across Wanaka and Luggate received service honours and awards.