Personnel from three local volunteer Rural Fire forces, with a total of 324 years of service, were recognised at a special council function on Wednesday night.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said that, kitted out in new uniforms, the fire fighters looked a very professional fire-fighting team, before presenting long-service medals for between three and 28 years' service.
The most poignant presentation came earlier when Carol and Bill Nelson received a fire helmet in memory of their fire fighter son Guy who died in August last year from a brain tumour.
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The helmet - the Guy Nelson Trophy - is to be presented annually to a Rural Fire volunteer in memory of Guy, but will stay with the Nelsons in the meantime while decisions are made on what the trophy will be presented for.
"You do so much more than save lives," Mrs Chadwick told the fire fighters. "You give service over and above your other life. You're our treasures and I know you all get so much out of volunteering."
Mrs Chadwick also praised members of both the Rural Fire and New Zealand Fire services for successfully battling a major bush fire at Sulphur Point just last month. "It could have been so drastic if not for your teamwork," she said.
- Rotorua Daily Post