James Walker, vice president United Fire Brigade Association presenting Roger Sheat with his Gold star

Valuing long service

by Ann van Engelen

As part of the recent fire brigade annual awards, Roger Sheat was celebrated for his 25 years of service as a volunteer at the Leeston Volunteer Fire Brigade, which he joined in 1994.

The 59-year-old was awarded a gold star to mark his 25 years of service alongside numerous other brigade members who received awards for various reasons.

“Roger is the third of four generations in his family to be a volunteer firefighter. This is a remarkable achievement as a very small percentage of firefighters gets through to 25 years,” says chief fire officer Lloyd Clausen.

“He is a station and training officer and brings a wealth of experience to the team. He leads by example and is really appreciated. The medal represents turning up for practice every Wednesday night for 25 years — he was in the 90 per cent range over the time.”

Mr Sheat joined the brigade after a neighbour asked him to.

“I had a brother in the Dunsandel brigade, so it wasn’t a hard decision,” he said. “It really doesn’t feel like it has been 25 years, we all work as a team.

The calls we get are diverse, so you never know what you are going to get, and the teamwork makes it a community service of the good kind. We provide help to people who are probably having the worst moment in their lives, whether it be a property fire, medical event or motor vehicle accident.

We give them the best outcome we can.

”As long as I am able to contribute, I intend to remain as a volunteer and do my best to help others and my team. They are great people, all like-minded with community at heart and I am only one of many who got awards on the night.”