Thu, Sep 22, 2022 9:34 AM
There are places on State Highway 1 that Rebecca Stevens would rather forget but knows she never will.
For more than two decades, the Seddon Volunteer Fire Brigade Deputy Chief has helped when people need it most; at accidents, fires, floods and earthquakes.
Now her years of dedicated service have been officially honoured as she was presented with the 25-year Gold Star Award.
After accepting the award at a special ceremony earlier this month Rebecca says it is an honour to help the community she loves so much.
“It’s the people that keep me going be it our brigade members or the public, there is nothing that can compare with helping save someone’s life with a fantastic team beside you.
“I look at it in that there needs to be someone doing what we do, so why not me?”
United Fire Brigade Association past president and Gold Star member Dave McFarlane presented Rebecca with the award in front of family and friends.
Her husband and current Seddon Fire Chief Justin Stevens watched on proudly as did two of the couple’s three sons, who are also volunteers with the brigade.
All three sons have served, Rebecca says, with youngest son, Jack, 16, the newest recruit.
“You go to a job and you’re not thinking so much that they’re your children but part of the team.
“The training comes to the fore, and you put everything else out of your mind as you know you have to be able to help that person.
“It is good that we can all talk about it together.”
The location of every road tragedy is etched in her mind and there are places where she averts her gaze, Rebecca says.
It is the people she remembers the most and they are the reason she first volunteered.
“About 20 years ago, there was a three-car crash and one of the victims died four times in the helicopter going to hospital.
“He later come in to see us with his fiancée and it was quite emotional. He couldn’t talk much as he had damaged his voice box but the joy was easy to see.”
With three children, a 700-strong deer farm and 30 acres of grapes, it hasn’t always been easy to juggle her time.
But the rewards and sense of family the 18 volunteers enjoy means she is grateful for the chance to help, Rebecca says.
“We all get on well together and know what people can cope with and what they’re strengths and weaknesses are and work around it.
“It’s such a great team environment.”
The brigade is always looking for more volunteers and anyone interested in finding out more can visit fireandemergency.nz/stations/show/seddon-volunteer-fire-brigade