Sunday, June 22, 2008

Visited Fire Station No 5

Another weekend another photo shoot, my poor hubby is starting to think he is living alone as I flit around the country taking photos for the 2009 Calendar. This weekend I headed to Duntroon in the Southern Fire Region of the South Island. Duntroon is about 30 minute drive from Oamaru in North Otago. It is a Volunteer Station, with at present 9 Volunteers. They have 2 Females in their Brigade.
Marion Baird is 61 years and has been in the Brigade for 20years, She said she is pretty much Mum to the Brigade, doing all those jobs, ie sewing, cleaning, organising etc and she holds the rank of Senior Fire-Fighter, drives the Appliance when needed and has also been the Brigade Secretary for 22 years. Marion is married to the Fire Chief, Lawson Baird. They run the local School Bus Company, both driving the School children to and from their schools. She actually joined to help man the Comm centre of the station but found to do that she had to be a firefighter. Once she trained then there was no point in just manning the radios, she could go out on the calls. Marion has 2 Daughters, 1 who was a Fire Fighter with the Brigade till she moved away, and 5 Grandchildren.
Marion is a Breast Cancer Survivor, she lost a Breast to cancer at the age of 44, 3 years after becoming a Fire-fighter. She is such an inspiration, showing that life can go on with the right attitude and support, helping others in their time of need. Her eldest daughter is also a Breast Cancer Survivor, having lost a breast to cancer 9 years ago at age 29.
Sally Pilbrow is 61 and is an Operational Support Person with the Duntoon Brigade. Sally has been in the Brigade for 18months and joined after her Husband Geoff Pilbrow, also a member of the Brigade, passed away on the Fire Ground due to a Massive Heart Attack in 2006. She joined partly to fill Geoff's position as OS and partly for companionship.
Sally bides her time between Timaru, where she works part-time as a Craniosacral Therapist, and Duntroon for some time off and to help the Brigade out when the siren goes off.
Sally has 2 sons and 2 Grandchildren.
On arriving at the Station on a chilly Sunday morning, my niece who come along for company, and myself were greeted with date scones and mousetraps for morning tea. Betty Eckhardt, who helps with catering at the station had made sure we weren't hungry before we started taking the photos. After we got the photo we wanted we were treated to a lovely BBQ lunch also at the Station and got to meet more of the Brigade.
I have been so overwhelmed with the hospitality shown by each Station as I meet the applicants for the first time, while on my journey to put this calendar together.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another Photo for the Calendar...

Another weekend of travelling,this trip included some flying. The next Female Firefighter is from the Eastern Fire Region of the North Island, coming from the Taradale Volunteer Fire Brigade. Taradale is part of Napier City and also close to Hastings. I flew into Napier at just after mid-day Saturday the 14th June, to lovely sunny weather and happy I hadn't decided to wear my thermals. I was met at the airport by Elissa Cairns and her children Kristen, 5 and Jay, 3. Elissa is married and a Station Officer with the Taradale Brigade. She has been in the Brigade 13 years and juggles her 2 children and a part-time job at Bunnings, with turning out for the Brigade.
While Elissa and I were at the Station being interviewed for an article in the Napier Mail, Elissa's pager went off, that was pretty much the end of the interview while she got the Appliance ready and headed off to the call. Elissa being a Station Officer was in charge of the Incident. It happened again later as we were sitting down for dinner, I ended up babysitting, while Elissa did what she joined the brigade to do. I stayed with Elissa's parents, Ian and Christine Cairns, for the Saturday Night. They have a lovely big house on a few acres in Taradale, where they run some well looked after sheep and also open as a Bed and Breakfast when called upon.
Sunday morning turned out to be another lovely day so after getting her hair done.. by Julie Thomas, Owner/Stylist of Hairapy. Makeup by Paula Burden, and some help from a couple of the boys from the Brigade, we headed off to get the next lot of photos for the Calendar.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Snow in the South Island

I'm really pleased I wasn't out and about on the roads this weekend, the South Island got hit by snow again but not as bad as the 2006 snow. It was bad enough to disrupt traffic, but luckily we didn't have the power outages and didn't have to spend the day at the Fire Station on multiple call outs. Please take Care when driving in the icy conditions, "Getting somewhere a little late is better than not getting there at all".

Monday, June 2, 2008

Queen's Birthday Weekend

Taking advantage of the long weekend, Hubby and I drove a round trip of 1270km to the Mapua Fire Station, situated 30mins from Nelson in the Arapawa Fire Region of the South Island. There we were treated to some great hospitality by Firelady Ella Evans and her family.We were treated to a lovely meal and watched the Crusaders beat the Waratahs in the Super 14. Well done the Crusaders. Ella has the rank of Fire Fighter and first joined as a Volunteer in the Geraldine Brigade in 1999. She moved to the Lyttelton Brigade where she met her Husband, Grant, who is also a Fire Fighter and they moved to the Mapua Brigade where they have been for 1 year. Ella is a full time Mum, with 5 children so has had some time off for maternity leave. She has just redone her basic training and is ready for a callout if the siren goes, that is if she can get out the door before Grant. Ella has a passion for motorbikes, she has one of her own that you can see in her photo.
Ella also wanted me to let you all know why she become a volunteer, in her own words......
"I love the team work, community spirit and learning new things. I believe it is setting a good example to my children, especially my daughters. I want them to grow up knowing that gender and age is not a barrier to doing anything that you set your heart on."