Home > News > Archive > 1st December 2005

Honour to serve community

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier
Murray Gane
Te Awamutu Fire Chief Murray Gane, who says serving the district as a volunteer firefighter for 25 years has been an honour. 335051AD

By Dean Taylor

Te Awamutu Fire Chief Murray Gane recently joined an elite group of firefighters who have given 25 years service. A special Gold Star presentation evening was held to honour the occasion, attended by past and present firefighters, family and friends.

Mr Gane has given his entire 25 years of service to Te Awamutu, joining in his 20’s because then member and builder Les McFarlane talked the young plumber into it while they were on the same job. He says he was looking for something to do as he wasn’t involved in sport or service clubs and didn’t have a hobby. Looking back he says he never envisaged it would become such an important part of his life.

Mr Gane says he feels honoured to have served the community and to have been involved with such a good group of people.
Before becoming Fire Chief, Mr Gane served under just two previous chiefs, Don Hallett (who presented the Gold Star award) and Robbie Morriss (who will soon receive his Double Gold Star). Unusually it was another former Te Awamutu Brigade member, Harold McLiesh, who made the bar presentation on behalf of the Gold Star Association.

He says the service in Te Awamutu was a lot more social in the early days, and the camaraderie is still an important element.

Mr Gane joined the brigade in September 1980 and was promoted to Senior Firefighter in 1988, 3rd Officer in 1990 and Fire Chief on April 1, 1996. During his service he has been present for 2177 musters, an excellent record requiring dedication and commitment.

In making the presentation Mr Hallett also made mention of the commitment and patience of Mr Gane’s wife Colleen and children for supporting him.

Mr Gane became the 30th Gold Star recipient for the 92-year-old fire brigade, a proud record for a small brigade.

Mr Gane says while the work is a challenge, it is also rewarding. He says the main reward is simply knowing you are doing something worthwhile and valuable in your community. He says Te Awamutu has always been well served by a dedicated group of volunteers, which continues to this day. Mr Gane says his management team of Senior Station Officers Lex Soepnel, Ian Campbell and Deputy Chief Murry Gillard and all the volunteers make his job easier.

Over the years, and especially in the days of Te Awamutu Borough Council, the brigade was able to build the current station, which is a tremendous facility for a small town. The brigade, with the help of a supportive community, has been able to maintain the station and equip itself with quality machinery and gear.

Mr Gane says the brigade is always looking for new recruits and especially needs firefighters able to respond during business hours. Firefighters can choose to stay at a basic level, or undergo training in specialist areas and leadership. For some it also opens doors to a professional career. Anyone wanting more information is welcome to contact Mr Gane or his team.