Mark Buckley has been fighting fires since 1987.
And now the likeable Lyttelton Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer has been recognised for his work.
Mr Buckley received a Queen’s Service Medal for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community in the New Year Honours List. He said his volunteer work involves many “sad calls” and a lot of commitment.
Mr Buckley said he was “honoured” to receive the recognition and dedicated it to the brigade and his wife and two sons.
“It makes you feel a bit humbled and reflects back on the brigade and their fortitude over recent times,” he said.
Mr Buckley never expected the honour. “It’s not what you strive for but it does make what you’ve done credible.”
He has had numerous highs and lows over three decades as a volunteer firefighter.
“Over the years, we have attended calls where outcomes haven’t been so good. But there have been ones where we did make a difference,” Mr Buckley said.
“One of them was a house fire, a second storey on a shop on London St [Lyttelton] about nine years ago. A lady was in the flat overcome with smoke and we got her out.”
But the February 22, 2011, earthquake was “by far” the hardest time as a firefighter.
“The event itself was horrific. We had the brigade on station for well over a week and we had solid numbers everyday. We’d go out and make temporary repairs and make houses safer than what they were,” he said.
•Mr Buckley joins fellow Lyttelton volunteer firefighter John Fogarty as a QSM recipient in the brigade.