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10 months ago

Selwyn Times: October 24, 2017

10 Tuesday

10 Tuesday October 24 2017 Latest Christchurch news at www.star.kiwi Our People SELWYN TIMES Donald McMillan Long-serving volunteer firefighter follows Chief fire officer Donald McMillan, 67, has marked 50 years service to the Southbridge Volunteer Fire Brigade. He spoke to Georgia O’Connor- Harding Fifty years is a big deal. Did you have a great evening celebrating recently? I had a good evening. We had the logistical part one night and then I invited all the family and friends to the fire station another day about a week ago. It was a good day. A lot of people I hadn’t seen for years. It was good to catch up and reminisce. It has gone fast? I remember when I got my 25 year gold star. I thought I would never get to 50 years. I suppose as I said in the speech the other evening “doesn’t time fly when you are having fun.” I have enjoyed it which is good. What led you to becoming a firefighter? My father Trevor was the deputy chief fire officer in Southbridge for a few years. LONG-SERVING: Southbridge chief fire officer Donald McMillan has been recognised for 50 years service. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER The chief fire officer in Southbridge at the time Doug Goulden asked me if I would be interested in joining the Southbridge Volunteer Fire Brigade. Dad had actually retired. At the time I thought I don’t know about this. But anyway I said yes, I will give it a go. It must have been in my blood with my father being in the service. It went on from there. I have enjoyed it. It has been very rewarding. Do you remember the first time you went out on a job and what happened? The only thing I remember-I think it was to a rubbish pit. It is now called Crossgates Rd but it was sort of on North Rakaia Rd. I can very vividly remember in this pit there was that many rats running around. Rats don’t worry me but it is just something I noticed. You haven’t always wanted to be a firefighter? Until I joined the Southbridge Fire Station I hadn’t made my mind up on where I wanted to be. I think now if I had my time over again I may have become a career firefighter. But I think the volunteer side is just as important as the career side in the Fire Service. We are 24/7. I just hope we never see the day where they are going to start to pay volunteers. I don’t like that idea. Why is that? I think it gets too messy. I think the word volunteer is volunteer and that is it. I think to be part of a volunteer organisation in the size we are is something pretty damn good and pretty damn rewarding. CREATE THE DREAM The Best Night in Town • TAB • Pokies • 2x Courtesy Coach • Accommodation • Liquor Shop – Best Prices • Restaurant • 2x Function Areas • Board Room • Live Music Every Saturday • Great Staff & Attitude 3 Market St, Leeston Phone 03 324 4000 | Open 7 days www.crateandbarrel.nz Take control of the weather! LET US CREATE YOUR PERFECT OUTDOOR SPACE CALL US TODAY FOR A NO OBLIGATION QUOTE CHRISTCHURCH 55 Hands Road Ph: (03) 338 9063 www.stratco.co.nz

SELWYN TIMES Latest Christchurch news at www.star.kiwi Tuesday October 24 2017 11 in father’s footsteps Are Southbridge volunteer numbers growing? We were down to about 14 members for a while and we are now up to 22 again. We have been pretty lucky over the last five to six years. We haven’t had any problems recruiting people. I had a woman probably five years ago – she rang me up one day saying “I wouldn’t mind joining the fire brigade”. I said come down and see me tonight and I will have wee sort of interview and talk about it. I asked what she does and she was a house wife living in Southbridge. She said to me “the first thing I want to ask you is how much do I get paid?” I said “you get paid the same amount as me” and she said “that would be all right”. I said that is nothing. And she got up and walked out. Is there a process for getting into the Fire Service? There is a process. As far as volunteers go we sort of rely on people’s ability and to know they are fit before they join. When they do join they do what we call is a basic firefighters course. They will see what they are like how fit they are. I don’t really know if anyone has failed from not being fit enough because I think people are aware you have got to have a certain level of fitness before you join. Carrying all that heavy gear would take it out of you? Yes, it does now. It is the heat and things like that. You can get a bit exhausted at times. In the service everyone’s safety is paramount. It is other things like wearing the right protective clothes. It is that bloody hot sometimes. It is nice to take the gear off in a nice cold breeze to cool down. You mentioned you would have been a career firefighter, was there any reason you did not? I don’t think it is any particular reason. The thing was I was working for my father in a family business and I presume that may have been what kept me back. If I had my life over again I would probably do that. There are probably lots of things I would change. Tell me about your career outside the fire. I was actually a blacksmith. Dad was a blacksmith and I just carried on in his footsteps for a number of years. My father taught me the trade. I was learning since I was a child. I used to go to the blacksmith’s shop in Southbridge and just spent time there after school doing bits and pieces welding and all that stuff. When I was probably 10 I was welding and doing engineering things. Dad said to me when you leave school just follow in my shoes. You have been working with fire for a while. Yes, I also slowly got into what we called pumping water pumps. I spent a number of years doing that and doing irrigation work and in my earlier days I did water supplies for the district council in Rolleston and I did the water supply in Leeston and Dunsandel. I put the main waterline in. I have always been fascinated by water. What is the most difficult part of your job as chief fire officer? We have got so many people in different stages in their careers and different stages in their life. I have seen many people join and many people go. Managing is relatively easy as long as you can talk to people. It is a matter of communicating with people. All those guys as far as I am concerned are equal except for the offices that have a bigger leadership role. I have always felt you have got to lead by example. I like to be part of the team and be there with the guys. I still drive the fire appliance and if they are short I will go as an officer. It is a hands-on thing and it is something I don’t want to lose. •Turn to page 12 DEDICATED: Donald McMillan from his earlier days working in the Fire Service. A PERFECT FIT! A purpose-designed plan to suit your lifestyle - for LESS than a standard plan! The Owners and team of Onyx Homes are quite simply some of the best and most experienced people in the industry. It’s through this experience that Onyx Homes bring to their customers a better standard of home that is less than the standard plan built homes of their competitors. Onyx Homes believes everyone is unique, so why settle for a standard plan when you can have a purposed designed plan to suit your exact lifestyle and for less than a standard plan? A PERFECT FIT! You only deal with the owners so NO sales fees, royalty fees or top heavy overheads added to your costfile Onyx Homes is the ONLY Company in the market that fully disclose their cost file to prove and ensure best price and quality. info@onyxhomes.co.nz | Phone 03 928 1505 www.onyxhomes.co.nz Find us on Facebook