Fire chief dies

Long serving Cambridge fire chief Don Gerrand has died.

Waipa mayor Jim Mylchreest made the announcement at today’s Strategic Planning and Policy committee.

Don, 72, who was Cambridge News’ Person of the Year last year, died in Waikato Hospital after a short illness, said Mylchreest.

No further funeral details were available but Mylchreest said given Don’s long service to the community, the council will be involved in it.

Don joined the fire brigade in 1968 and was well recognised for his efforts. He received a Queen’s Service Medal in 2008 for his then 40-year service.

He became senior station officer in the 1990s and chief fire officer in 1994, a position he held for 28 years.

In 2019, Don received the Cambridge Community Board Community Award, with then Community Board chairman Mike Pettit describing him as a dedicated brigade member who had attended well over 8000 callouts and musters in his then 50 years. In 2020, Don was presented with the Melvin Jones Fellow Award from the Lions International Foundation in recognition for his dedicated humanitarian services – a rare honour for a non-Lion.

Don was a volunteer.

A panel beater by trade, Don juggled his brigade work with earning a crust. He worked at Cambridge Panel Beaters for 15 years and was then an assessor with AMI for decades before returning to the floor panel beating for a few more years.

Don is survived by wife Jocelyn.

Read: Don humbled by award

Read: Firemen leave big boots to fill

Read: Fire chief honoured

Read: Firefighter’s five decades officially recognised

Don Gerrand

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