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Fire And Emergency Honours’ Recipients Congratulated

Press Release – Fire and Emergency NZ

Fire and Emergency New Zealand Board Chair Paul Swain has congratulated past and present firefighters from Kaiwaka, Opotiki, Kaikohe, Westport and Ohakune who have been recognised with Queens Service Medals in the 2021 New Years Honours list …

Fire and Emergency New Zealand Board Chair Paul Swain has congratulated past and present firefighters from Kaiwaka, Opotiki, Kaikohe, Westport and Ohakune who have been recognised with Queen’s Service Medals in the 2021 New Year’s Honours list released today.

“We are very proud to have such dedicated people offer their time and skills to serve both their communities and Fire and Emergency New Zealand,” said Mr Swain.

The recipients are:

John Bowmar (Kaiwaka) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community

Syd Hughes (Opotiki) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community

Jim Powdrill (Kaikohe) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Kevin Stechman (Westport) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Bruce Thompson (Ohakune) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community.

“This recognition is thoroughly deserved for the immense amount of work these five have undertaken over many years to make their communities stronger, safer and more resilient.

“On behalf of all New Zealanders, I would like to congratulate them all on receiving this very special honour,” says Paul Swain.

Additional information:

Mr Daniel John (John) BOWMAR (Kaiwaka) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community

John Bowmar has been a member of the Kaiwaka Volunteer Fire Brigade since 1977. He was Deputy Chief Fire Officer from 1994 to 2004 and has since served 16 years as Chief Fire Officer. In the past 10 years, he has attended 847 callouts across a range of events. At the same time, he has provided support to neighbouring Mangawhai Volunteer Fire Brigade, including mentoring new officers.

John has also been an active member of his local Lions Club and been involved in community fundraising including for the Northland Rescue Helicopter Trust. He has supported the local Civil Defence team and has responded with his tractor to assist with rescues in the community.

Mr Joseph Sydney Ronald Robert (Syd) HUGHES (Opotiki) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community

Syd Hughes was a member of the Opotiki Volunteer Fire Brigade from 1961 until retiring from the brigade in 2015. During that time, he responded to a total of 2,793 callouts. He was promoted to Station Officer in 1981, Senior Station Officer in 2001, and Deputy Chief Fire Officer in 2004. Syd remains involved with recruitment for the brigade and is an Honorary Life Member.

He was involved with the Opotiki St John Ambulance Brigade from 1960 until 1987, including volunteering at sports events and ambulance callouts, and later became a full-time ambulance officer. He volunteered as a cadet instructor for St John from the mid-1970s until 1987.

Syd has been a member of the Opotiki Pony Club, the Opotiki Agricultural and Pastoral Association, and the Opotiki Hunt Club committee where he acted as first responder for hunts.

Mr James George (Jim) POWDRILL (Kaikohe) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Jim Powdrill has been a member of the Kaikohe Volunteer Fire Brigade since 1963, rising to the rank of Senior Station Officer. During his time with the brigade he was a driver and pump operator and assisted in training new recruits. He played a major role with other senior officers to support the brigade through three restructures, fitted smoke alarms in almost every house in Kaikohe, and cleaned chimneys in response to a rise in call-outs to chimney fires.

Jim spent many years as a marshal and timekeeper at Northland Fire Brigade competitions and has officiated at provincial level from Cape Reinga to Turangi.

Jim was recognised as a Life Member of the Brigade in 1988 and received a Citizen Award from the Far North District Council in 2016. He has volunteered with Kaikohe St John ambulance service as a driver and at Kaikohe Pioneer Village and has been involved in various community fundraising functions. Jim is also a member of the Kaikohe Community Patrol and maintains the patrol vehicle in addition to patrolling.

Mr Kevin STECHMAN (Westport) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Kevin Stechman has been a member of the Westport Volunteer Fire Brigade for 46 years. He is currently the Senior Station Officer and has served as Secretary and Treasurer since 1999.

Kevin has represented the Brigade at the United Fire Brigades’ Association Annual Conference for the past 20 years. He has served on the West Coast Provincial Fire Brigade Association Executive, including as President in 1993. In this capacity he helped organise and run annual competitions and exercises for the firefighters. He is the current Secretary and Treasurer of the West Coast Gold Star Association, a group that provides support to fire personnel who have served more than 25 years for their brigades.

Kevin has also been involved with the White Star Club in the Buller Rugby Union as player, coach and committee member for more than 20 years.

Mr Bruce Herbert THOMPSON (Ohakune) – Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community

Bruce Thompson has been a member of Ohakune Volunteer Fire Brigade for 55 years. He spent many years with the Brigade as Treasurer and Secretary and was made a Life Member in 1990. He is currently Clothing Manager and provides a meal following every training night. He has been instrumental in fundraising for a water tanker and motor vehicle extrication cutting equipment for the Brigade.

Bruce operated the Ohakune movie theatre until 2014, where he organised a number of film screenings for community and fundraising events. He was Councillor for the Ohakune Borough Council from 1972 and was Deputy Mayor from 1974 until 1985. He was Councillor of Waimarino District from 1989 to 1994 and Ruapehu District Council from 2001 to 2004. He was also a member of the Waimarino Waiouru Community Board from 2004 to 2009.

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