June 2002

This is the first time in the UFBA's history that a brigade has had two 50-year service medals honored to their members in a year, and not to mention two Gold Stars.

Stokes Valley has just awarded Stewart Walker a 50-year service medal and Lloyd Laurent a Gold Star, and on 26 October 2002, Colin Brown will be receiving his 50-year service medal and Bruce Dewar his Gold Star.

Stewart Walker, son of long time fire chief George Walker, joined the brigade as a messenger on November 22 1949 and became a fireman during 1952. Over the years, Stewart has been a huge asset to the brigade through his involvement in competitions, fundraising skills, the production of the book "50 Flaming Years" on the history of Stokes Valley Brigade, and, last year, Stewart was given the Hutt City Civic Award in recognition for his services to the community.

Over his 26 years of service, Lloyd Laurent has made many worthwhile contributions to the brigade. Without Lloyd, the Stokes Valley Social Committee's events: casino evenings, sports evenings, progressive dinners, car rallies, and Lloyd's speciality, quiz evenings, would not be as successful and enjoyable.

Colin Brown joined the Stokes Valley Volunteer Fire Brigade on 20 December 1950 at the age of 12 as a messenger. He was promoted to Senior Firefighter in July 1973, to Station Officer in December 1975, and since 1995 he has been Deputy Chief Fire Officer and is employed by the New Zealand Fire Service as a VSO (Volunteer Support Officer).

Finally, Bruce Dewar joined the Stokes Valley Volunteer Fire Brigade in June 1977 and was promoted to the rank of Senior Firefighter in July 1989. Bruce is one of the most experienced drivers in the brigade, having been involved in motor racing in the past.

We congratulate all four members of the Stokes Volunteer Fire Brigade for their length of service and commitment to the Fire Service and their community.