A fond farewell for Browndog

On Friday 13th May, we were honoured to farewell a truly remarkable human being.

Always going above and beyond, Greg “Browndog” Brownson’s contribution to the life and work of the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter service, emergency services and the wider community has been nothing short of exemplary and has made him a much-loved and widely-respected man.

This was clearly evident on the night.

With thanks to Eden Park, and the legendary music of the band Rewind, familiar faces from Greg’s past and present gathered to celebrate. Guests included John Saunders and Colin "Waka" Ware from the New Zealand Police who presented Greg with a precious taonga of framed badges from the Maritime and Eagle teams. More gifts from friends and crew included honorary plaques, a mounted winch hook, a framed life jacket and a special photo album celebrating Greg’s time with the service.

Long-time friend and former colleague Simon Barton also sent his best wishes from Australia. There was plenty of praise from the podium, mixed with a lot of humour as Herby Barnes opened the floor up for “Old Salts” before the guest of honour himself got to speak. As the newest Air Crew Officer, Michelle Maclean presented Greg with a cake she had made in his honour. Greg, in true Greg-style, shifted the focus away from himself and honoured Michelle and the team, saying the future of the service is in good hands.

Believed to be the longest serving crewman in the Southern Hemisphere, it is hard seeing Greg leave our whanau but, after 39 years of service, we are thrilled he gets to enjoy more time with those nearest and dearest to him including his lovely wife Margaret.

We wish him all the very best.