Howard Cole of Pokeno received his QSM for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand from Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy at an investiture ceremony at Government House in Wellington on Wednesday 26 September 2018.
Howard Cole is a founding member of the Maramarua Volunteer Rural Fire Force (MVRFF) and is currently Volunteer Rural Fire Force Controller.
Under his leadership, MVRFF has fundraised to purchase equipment, improve facilities and meet operating expenses. MVRFF deals with fire and other emergencies in the rural areas of Northern Waikato, with particular expertise in dealing with motor vehicle accidents.
Motor vehicle accidents are not currently mandated in the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977, but Howard has led the MVRFF’s responses proactively in the absence of an urban Fire Service or the Police for many years.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand Chief Executive Rhys Jones said “Today’s recipients exemplify the high regard that our firefighters are held in by society. They have all made huge contributions to both Fire and Emergency and the communities they live in.”