Ian’s’ all about ‘volunteerism’

Volunteering is in Ian Campbell’s blood.

The 60-year-old spends up to 25 hours per week volunteering for the good of his community: about 20 hours as chief fire officer of Te Awamutu Volunteer Fire Brigade and about five hours teaching Taekwon-do.

Ian Campbell

All this while holding down a job with the Department of Corrections as manager of industries at Waikeria Prison.

“The Department of Corrections have always supported volunteerism and particularly our local volunteer fire brigade,” said Campbell. “We’ve got more than one employee in the volunteer organisation and they’re very sympathetic.”

As is Campbell’s community who he believes nominated him for a King’s Birthday Honours Award. He received the King’s Service Medal for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and Taekwon-Do.

“It’s pretty humbling when you get acknowledged by your peers,” he said. “I joined when I was young. So, it is habitual.”

Campbell has served the Waikato’s busiest fire stations, averaging 400 call outs a year, in various roles over 42 years. The last 18 have been as chief fire officer.

“Being the chief in a busy brigade like ours is quite different to a small brigade. I’m available 24/7 for managerial advice. However, I’m still active and still get on the trucks when required.”

One of the biggest changes during Campbell’s service is the broadening the scope of incidents the service attends, including medical events previously only dealt with by Hato Hone St John.

“We do quite a few of those per year now,” he said. “We go to just about everything these days which means we have to look at what the brigade is made up of in terms of personnel.”

Campbell manages 40 volunteer fire fighters.

He is also senior instructor at two Te Awamutu Taekwon-do training sessions a week where he passes on his knowledge to 15 students.

“That’s something that I’ve been doing since I was a child in the seventies,” he said. “I just stuck with it. I’ve been doing that for 45 years.”

His martial arts training has helped his time as an emergency responder.

“My martial arts training has definitely kept me fit and well. I’m a member of the Te Awamutu Firefighter Challenge team and we’re very successful on the competition track which is very physical.”

Campbell said his wife, Charlene, and children Sam and Jessica, were the reason for his success.

“Although I’m the recipient of this nomination, and grateful and humble, the nomination actually belongs to my family and the brigade. It’s people, and the work that we do, that keeps people like me hanging around. I’ve been the chief fire officer for almost 18 years and I’m still loving it.”

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