Island News

Tyson’s in for good

Written By : VASITI RITOVA. Tyson Fong loves his rugby and would love to pursue his dream of scoring tries and an overseas contract. The 20-year-old made some pretty big
06 Jun 2009 12:00

Written By : VASITI RITOVA. Tyson Fong loves his rugby and would love to pursue his dream of scoring tries and an overseas contract.
The 20-year-old made some pretty big plans along this line when he left Laucala Bay Secondary in early 2000.
He did achieve some parts of that dream because he travelled to New Zealand around 2006 and played for North Harbour in Auckland for nine months.
When he returned, he started playing for Marist Club in Suva for most of 2007 and made a lot of friends in rugby circles, like many young men do.
But he had to find something permanent because he wanted something for himself.
Tyson belongs to a whole community of citizens that have made a living in Pacific Harbour, an up-market paradise for business-folks and locals alike.
He lives with his parents, two sisters and four brothers.
Tyson and his friends do the usual around the place when it gets pretty boring – there is the Makosoi Rugby Club to play for in the Serua Rugby Union.
There are the evening grog sessions with his family and mates. There is also space for joy-rides and fun in Pacific Harbour.
Then the inevitable occurred one day.
“I was listening to the radio once and heard that the NFA (National Fire Authority) was looking for volunteer fire fighters in our area,” he said. “I had met people who have met some fire officers in our grog sessions around Pacific Harbour.
“That announcement sort of created an enthusiasm about fire fighting and I decided to join,” Tyson said. “After all, it was all about volunteer work for our community here.”
He also began imagining the thrills of fighting fires.
Tyson joined as a volunteer and subjected himself to the full drill and training course under the guidance of national fire officers from the NFA.
Along with interested young men and women from around Pacific Harbour, Tyson began doing things he did not have plans for in life.
“I began liking what we were undergoing, I mean the training and bonding with all the volunteers,” he said.
“We just came together on our own and used our own resources and time to help in situations.”
“There were situations where we had to brainstorm on a few things about the kind of work that involves fire fighting and they were fun sessions but we aimed at making use of our time to help the fire officers.”
Tyson began noticing that he was enjoying himself.
For a good year, he was heavily involved in fighting many fires in and around Pacific Harbour’s area of operation.
According to Sub Officer Pacific Harbour Volunteer Fire Station, Iowane Maivusa, his brigade helped put out at least 20 fires in 2008.
“Fires of all sorts, in different codes as identified by NFA and internationally,” S/O Maivusa said. “They ranged from everything like major traffic accidents, which we did with the National Search and Rescue colleagues to hedge fires and bush fires.”
“There were also house fires, room fires and big ones like those in industrial areas,” Maivusa added.
That was when Tyson began noticing his interest to take up the job of fire fighting as a career.
His volunteer work was getting the recognition he did not anticipate. His supervisors were taking notes and Tyson’s name was beginning to get an underline and a tick.
After several months into it, he was recommended by S/O Maivusa to undergo the usual 10-week recruitment training to become a fire fighter and take it up as a career.
“I was a bit surprised at what was happening but at the same time, I had enjoyed it thoroughly so I decided, yes, I am going to be a fireman.”
Tyson found himself undergoing one of the most rigorous physical training programmes in his life. His initiation ceremonies, to become a fire fighter, were taking place and he was satisfied with himself.
He graduated with fellow trainees ten weeks later and is now a fire fighter, earning money and stationed at Navua Fire Station. He travels daily from Pacific Harbour and is also rostered like everyone else.
His life was becoming quite enjoyable because he began a journey he had not planned.
Tyson, like his friends, love challenges and becoming a fire fighter contributed to his life some traits he had always taken for granted.
“After all, it was the same kind of discipline you would find when playing rugby, they seemed quite the same to me,” he said.
“It also had its essence in asking for loyalty; loyalty to yourself, to your family and to the Pacific Harbour community.”
“You get to serve and you get to help,” Tyson added.
“Most of all, you get to save lives and property – that’s utmost in a fireman’s dictionary.”
The 20-year-old paid tribute to his supervisor, S/O Maivusa.
“He’s really good,” he said. “Before I became a fulltime fireman, we had had some great grog sessions around our area and that attitude towards the community sort of contributed to a major friendship with us and him here.”
As for rugby, Tyson still has a lot of passion for it and has plans to play in the 2011 Rugby World Cup if given the chance.

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