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Recognition... Mataura Volunteer Fire Brigade’s Colin South (left) and Braydn Phillips celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the brigade’s operational support team. PHOTO: JACKIE TAVENDALE

Mataura Volunteer Fire Brigade members were all fired up to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their behind-the-scenes operational support team at the weekend.

Mataura Volunteer Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer Neil Rogan said the operational support team was a valued part of the brigade.

“The Mataura operational support unit provide a valuable contribution to not only the brigade but also the wider community,” Mr Rogan said.

“When we had the flooding they were extremely busy with road closures [and] directing traffic.”

They supported the brigade’s firefighters in a variety of ways.

“If we go to a car accident they’ll go along and they’ll close the road.

“They can go to medicals because they’ve got their first aid certificates.

“They can go backwards and forwards with supplies for the firefighters.”

It was a role less physically demanding than firefighting and was a good way for people who were less active to serve, he said.

There had been changes since the team was founded in 1970.

“As the years have gone by their role has certainly grown.”

The fire police, as they were then known, had just two members compared to today’s seven-member team.

The celebration began on a Friday with a get-together and drinks for brigade members both old and new.

A formal event was held on Saturday at the Mataura Community Centre.

Gore District Deputy Mayor Bronwyn Reid thanked the operational support members on behalf on the council, he said.

“We had a meal, some presentations and speeches, and we rolled on through to our annual honours evening.”

Two operational support team members received awards.

Operational Support Qualified Firefighter Murray Wards received a silver bar marking 21 years of service while Operational Support Recruit Firefighter David Brown received a three-year service certificate.

The operational support team presented the brigade with an “absolutely beautiful” shield bearing the names of everyone who had been part of their unit.

“That’s something that will hang with .. a bit of pride in the station.”

On Sunday the celebrations concluded with a communal meal.

“We had a barbecue get-together on Sunday at the Mataura station as well.

“It was a good weekend that everybody enjoyed.”Sportswear DesignGOLF NIKE SHOES