Family, friends and RFS members gathered for a memorial service at the Krawarree Rural Fire Station to farewell firefighter Jitte Nieuwenhuis on Monday morning. Mr Nieuwenhuis suffered a heart attack and died while on a call out to extinguish a burning vehicle in the Deua National Park earlier this month.
The family tribute was read by Chaplain Ian Spall, with tributes also payed by Paul Scammell, Wayne Cramp and Captain Peter O’Connell of the Krawarree Brigade.
They each spoke of Mr Nieuwehnhuis’s love of working with his hands, his dry sense of humour, his experience and good sense, his generosity and his love for his wife of 60 years Jean and their family.
Fellow RFS member Paul Scammell said, “he was a great bloke, I, and I’m sure the rest of my brigade, members will greatly miss him.”
Likewise, Wayne Cramp also of the Krawarree Brigade spoke of his generosity with his time saying, “he was a genuine person, that gave not because he had to, but because he wanted to.”
Each speaker mentioned his dedication to the Rural Fire Service during his 21 years of service. They spoke of the especial care he took as the Krawarree Station’s equipment manager, constantly replacing batteries and checking that things were working.
Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons presented Jitte’s twenty year long-service medal to his widow Jean, saying “Jitte was an extraordinary man to so many people and he gave so much to simply make sure that his community was better for it, that it was protected, that it was safe.”
Born in 1937, Mr Niuewenhuis moved to Australia from the Netherlands as a child with his parents. He leaves behind Jean, three children and several great-grandchildren.
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