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Waikato group manager Alan Doherty, left, with Rose Sparrow who was awarded the 25-year gold star. Photos: SUPPLIED

Firefighters awarded fire service milestones

A Maramarua firefighting duo have reached a quarter-century each with the fire service, including the first female of the brigade to kindle the milestone.
Rose Sparrow and deputy fire chief Glenn Holtham received their 25-year gold stars on May 20, along with awards presentations for 16 other Maramarua volunteer firefighters.

Maramarua resident Rose told The Profile she was “still coming to terms” with the accolade and being the first female member of the 20-member brigade to receive the honour.
“I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet, it’s just gone very quickly and I think I’m still coming to terms with it,” she said.
“Since I was at primary school many years ago, I always wanted to be a firefighter but back then it just wasn’t a thing for females.
“But when I went to Maramarua [in 1989], my husband Mike Sparrow joined and my brother Doug Foster joined, and when I was able, I joined [in 1997].
The 62-year-old said other women “shouldn’t be scared” to enter the ring of fire.
“We can do the job, you just knuckle down and do it and don’t expect the guys to take it lightly,” she said.
“I’ve attended a lot of motor vehicle accidents, too many actually on [State Highway 2], been to a couple of scrub fires and stuff in the summer, I have just about done everything.
“I carry my gear with me and I’m on call all the time… there have been many times where we sat down to a roast dinner and the bells have gone off and the roast dinner has gone back into the oven with the oven switched off until we get back.”
Rose, who is also a support worker at Pukekohe, said she’ll remain in the brigade for as long as she is able.
Glenn Holtham, who also lives in Maramarua, said he first geared up for his firefighting career in 1996 at Puriri Fire Station before transferring to Maramarua in 1997.

Glenn Holtham, right, receives his 25-year gold star award.

“I wanted to get into helping the community and a flyer was sent around looking for volunteer firefighters, and 25-26 years later I’m still standing,” he said.
“It got to 25 years and you sit back and think it’s a very long time to be volunteering at the same thing, so it’s all sinking in when you fathom how much time it is. “The comradery of the fellow firefighters who help out the people in this community, or people passing through the community, and the new friendships made has been quite good.”
The 46-year-old, who became the deputy chief in 2016, said he had always appreciated the community support.
“We’ve never had a problem being supported by the community and with a Facebook page, we get thanks from the community quite often, pats on the back, telling us we’ve done a good job,” he said. “The community have always been good in their assistance whether it be to upgrade the fire station, and in the early days before we were fully funded, fundraising for opportunities.”
Glenn, who is also a machine operator in the Counties Manukau area, said he’ll “have a crack” at sparking 50 years.
“I still find myself surprised about the situation of an incident when I turn up, like how a car has ended up where it is, or if an unlucky truck has had a tree fallen on top of it, so I’m sure there’s still some surprises out there for me,” he said.

Chief fire officer, Howard Cole, received the two-year gold bar for his 31-year service.

In addition to Glenn and Rose receiving their gold star awards, 16 Maramarua volunteer firefighters were honoured on May 20. Chief fire officer, Howard Cole, received the two-year gold bar for his 31-year service.

Mike Sparrow received the two-year gold bar for his 29-year service.

Doug Foster and Mike Sparrow received the same award for their 29-year service.Daniel Hair and Shaun Cranfield received the three-year silver bar for their 18-year service.

Doug Foster received the two-year gold bar for his 29-year service.

Lynette Platten received the fourteen-year long service and good conduct medal. Paora Jensen, Richard Haynes, and Stephen Beazley received the five-year medal. Dave Hatherley, Josh Holtham, Paora Jensen, and Kayleigh Hatherley received the three-year service certificate. Jarrod Cranfield, Luke Young, Isaac Lyons, and Kirsty Haynes received the two-year service certificate.