“Heroes in every sense of the word”

MAYORESS Linda Bonne, Edgecumbe Volunteer Fire Brigade representatives Bruce Knight and Tracey Lloyd, and Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne are jubilant after the brigade’s big win at the Trustpower National Community Awards in Queenstown. Photo supplied

THE Edgecumbe Volunteer Fire Brigade was named supreme winner at the Trustpower National Community Awards held in Queenstown on Saturday night.

Twenty-five teams contested the awards and were judged on five criteria; volunteer input, use of resources, initiative and creativity, effectiveness of activities and impact on community.

Each team gave an eight-minute presentation on their activities or project.
Bruce Knight and Tracey Lloyd represented the Edgecumbe brigade, accompanied by Mayor Tony Bonne.

Edgecumbe Fire Officer in Charge, Adrian Massey said the win was a great surprise but definitely a welcome one.

“What we do is no different from what any other volunteer fire service does, we do the same thing day in and day out, we just did it on a national scale with the floods… I am absolutely proud of the team.”

Mr Bonne said volunteer fire brigades were a normalised volunteer group; one that was just expected to be there and now they had been recognised for their effort.

“They haven’t won it just for themselves, they’ve won it for every fire brigade in New Zealand, I was a very proud mayor to be standing with them.”

The judges were shining in their praise of the Edgecumbe Brigade, noting the thousands of hours they logged while helping Edgecumbe get back on its feet and calling them “heroes in every sense of the word”.

Trustpower community and communications manager Emily Beaton said the Edgecumbe brigade gave a heartfelt presentation about their resilient community and the hard work of its volunteers.

“These every day heroes show commitment, comradery and support, which are the key ingredients for a strong community.”

The brigade took home $4000 in prize money, a $1000 Exult voucher, a trophy and a certificate.

Invercargill’s South Alive was runner up, and the Kura Precious Ones special needs and autism support group from Wairoa won the Whetu Mataiata award.

Judges comments

THE  Trustpower National Community Awards were judged by a panel of independent judges.

Also involved in the judging process were each of the 25 voluntary groups at the awards, with the peer voting making up half the final judging score and the independent judging panel’s votes making up the other half.

The judges’ comments about Edgecumbe Volunteer Fire Brigade included:

“You clearly have a family of volunteers who do an incredible job.”

“What a massive contribution your team is making to your community, sometimes at a personal cost to you. Thank you.”

“You guys did an awesome job in Edgecumbe. You are inspiring.”

“So valued every day and all through the night.”

“Heroes in every sense of the word.”