He jokes he was too slow to play rugby, but whatever the reason he joined the fire brigade, Waikaka’s deputy fire chief Nicholas Vanderley has just retired after 40 years.
Together with the brigade’s chief fire officer, Mervyn Clifford, Mr Vanderley was recently presented with his fourth gold bar service medal.
Mr Vanderley said he joined the brigade when he was 21.
“I wasn’t fast enough to play rugby so I joined the fire brigade.”
That he already knew many of brigade members helped his decision.
Throughout the years it had been very satisfying.
“You get out what you put in to the community. [You] can be proud of what you’ve done for the community when you are serving it.”
He recommended others join.
The training had taught him many skills.
“It’s good experience. It’s stuff you can use every day.”
He had also made many lifelong friends.
“We had a lot of fun with the competition teams in the early days.”