Rest in Peace, Chief Goosen, Swakopmund, Namibia
Swakopmund's chief fire officer, Adri Goosen, died on Monday, 14 June 2021, of a heart attack at the age of 56. Swakopmund municipal spokesperson, Aili Gebhardt, said, "We received the sad news of the passing of our beloved co-worker, chief fire officer Adri Goosen, today. May his soul rest in peace," Gebhardt said. A convoy of the Swakopmund Fire Brigade made its way through town, sirens blaring, announcing the sad news. Fire and Rescue International is very honoured to have met with Chief Goosen during a visit profiling fire brigades in Namibia in 2015. We stayed friends all these years and admired Chief Goosen for his humble dedication and passion, proactively building the fire service and serving the community over his 33-year career.
Chief Goosen began his career as a fire fighter in Windhoek in 1990. After two decades of service in the capital, he took up the post of head of the Swakopmund Fire Brigade on 1 February 2011.
Not only was he present at almost every fire, he also offered his help at traffic incidents or other accidents in the entire Erongo region. Chief Goosen also placed great emphasis on community education and offered fire fighting courses free of charge.
After Chief Goosen’s death was announced, Swakopmund fire engines held a procession to the municipality with wailing sirens.
Numerous messages of condolence already began circulating on social media on Monday evening, especially from other emergency services. “Adri was an incredibly hardworking man. His work was not a status symbol, it was his passion,” Swakopmund paramedic (ALS) Brendon Scott said. He added, “He is legend. The community lay close to his heart.”
Aubrey Oosthuizen of the West Coast Safety Initiative (WCSI) and the private ambulance service Code Red, described Goosen as an “upstanding officer and gentleman in the truest sense of the word. It was an honour working with you and to be able to call you a friend,” Oosthuizen said. “You were a leader of note, a real role model and for most of us a hero and angel. The legacy you leave behind is profound.”
CFO profile in Fire and Rescue International
A first generation fire fighter, Chief Goosen started his career in 1988 at Windhoek Fire Brigade and spent his first year as a trainee fire fighter. Goosen then spent 13 years as a sub officer with Windhoek Fire Brigade after which he was a platoon officer for four years, station officer for two years and senior station officer for the subsequent two years.
In 2011 Goosen accepted the position as chief fire officer at Swakopmund Fire and Rescue, situated on Namibia’s beautiful coastline. Once he reached the top level at Windhoek Fire Brigade, he realised his ambition of becoming a chief fire officer.
When asked what made him become a fire fighter, Chief Goosen responded, “I wanted to assist and help members of the public when in distress.” The main factor that has kept Goosen in the industry through the years is to serve his community to the best of his ability.
In describing his management style, Goosen said, “I have an open door policy towards fellow fire fighters. We need to communicate freely. That is the only way to ensure not only mutual respect and trust but also encourage career growth and advancement.”
Chief Goosen cited a number of mentors who coached him during his fire fighting career. “Chief fire officer Kobus Nel played an important role in my progress as did station officer Bennie Theron and platoon officer Skere Rossouw. They were the inspiration towards my career that I still serve as a professional fire fighter. They motivated and encouraged me during the course of my career.”
Another big influence on his career thus far has been to serve the community and to see how much they appreciate his service. In mentoring a fire fighter or future fire chief, his advice is, “Learn for the future and uphold the slogan of the fire brigade to protect life and property.”
“The best advice I can give to fellow fire chiefs is to keep fire fighters motivated and listen to them,” said Chief Goosen.
Rest in Peace, my friend.
Sources: Erongo News, Fire and Rescue International, Fabian Martens