Fireman Sam calls it a day
HANGING up his helmet for the last time, Station Officer Alan "Sam" Walker has reflected on his 34-years as a firefighter.
A distinguished station officer, Sam has left the ranks of the Coffs Harbour Fire Station to retire to Forster with wife Lyn.
Farewelled by his colleagues, he was given a handshake of appreciation from Fire Commissioner Greg Mullins.
"People like Sam are the epitome of what people expect of a fire officer, extremely competent, caring, and cool, calm and collected no matter how bad a situation he faces," Commissioner Mullins said.
Sam joined the fire brigade in 1978 after 12-years service in the Navy.
In his time as a firefighter he's played an important role in many emergencies.
"The biggest one without a doubt happened at the George Patterson Building in George St in 1995," Sam said.
"Heat radiated from the building and broke windows into the Bond St Stock Market Exchange where small spot fires started.
"Seven buildings in all caught fire, inside the roof sprinklers were triggered and as we entered the buildings they were flooding.
"There have been a lot of call-outs over the years, I'm 64 now and you have to retire sometime."
Decorated accordingly, Sam was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal in 2007.
He moved to Coffs Harbour in September, 2008 after long-standing deployments around NSW.
"It is always sad to farewell people, but Station Officer Walker will always remain a valued member of the FRNSW family," said Commissioner Mullins, who served alongside Sam for four years at Crows Nest.
In September, the Coffs Harbour Fire Station will also farewell retained firefighters Geoff Thompson, Stephen "Fred" Foster and David Brown.