Firefighters host retirement function to mark Joe’s three decades of service

March 9, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

Family, friends and colleagues from fire stations throughout the Southern area gathered in Newtownhamilton last weekend to pay tribute to the long and dedicated service of local station’s Watch Commander, Joe Hughes.

The event was organised by Joe’s colleagues in Newtownhamilton to mark his retirement from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) after amassing almost thirty years as a part-time retained firefighter.

Having joined the service in 1980, Joe’s competence was soon recognised and he quickly rose through the ranks, taking on the post of Crew Commander in 1986 and later Watch Commander in 1999, a post he held until his retirement.

Joe’s outstanding dedication to his job was recognised and commended by those present and token gifts were presented to him by his colleagues from other stations throughout the area.

Area Commander, Don Mackay, described Joe’s contribution to the service as ‘outstanding’ and paid tribute to his commitment and attention to detail.

Speaking on behalf of all the personnel in Newtownhamilton Fire Station, Crew Commander John Garvey congratulated Joe on this special occasion and extended every good wish to him on his retirement.

To mark the occasion, Joe was also presented with medals to mark 20 and 25 years service to NIFRS.

Charity work

Joe Hughes is well-known in Newtownhamilton and further afield for his charity work and particularly with the local-based Run for Autism group.

With more free time on his hands, it is expected that he will use some of this pursuing his charity work and other hobbies, all while continuing his full-time job in Savage’s Post Office in Newry.

During the celebrations last Friday evening, a collection was taken up for Newry Hospice with patrons contributing £300 to the charity.  This donation will be presented to the Hospice in the coming weeks.