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Newly appointed Paeroa Fire chief Paul Jackson, left, and his new deputy John Lavery. Photo: GORDON PREECE

New chiefs at Paeroa Fire Station

The siren has sounded at Paeroa Volunteer Fire Brigade for its newly appointed chief and deputy chief.
Former senior station officer Paul Jackson takes over as chief from the late Bill Rackham, who died in January after 56 years at the Paeroa brigade and 32 years as its chief.
Paul’s new deputy, former station manager John Lavery, takes over from 28-year Paeroa Fire veteran Lindsay Hill, who retired from the role at the end of last year.

Paul said he and John, who have a combined total of 62 years in the fire service, had “big shoes to fill” but their new roles were an “exciting time” for the brigade.
“It’s going to be a big learning curve for both of us being a bit more in the public eye, but it’s an exciting time for us and the brigade,” he said.
“[Bill and Lindsay] were two of the most dedicated people I’ve ever seen… so big shoes to fill, but hopefully we can make them proud.
“Bill kept a lot of it under his own wing so we’re learning quite a lot of stuff that we didn’t know quite happened because he was so dedicated to the place.”
Paul said he and John learned of their appointments in April after interviews with Fire and Emergency New Zealand Eastern Waikato group manager Mark Tinworth and Waikato district manager Daryl Trim.
“I think they thought we were the right people for the job after the interviews, we were really the only two who put our names forward for each position but we still had to go through the process just to make it,” he said.
Paul, who is also a Fonterra milk tanker driver, said the focus for him and John in their new roles was sparking more involvement by its 22 registered volunteers.
“Hopefully we can make some changes for the better, more involvement for the firefighters so the responsibilities are not on both of us so we can share the workload around a little bit,” he said.
“We’ve got a good bunch of people here that are dedicated and hopefully we can do the best we can for the community.”