By: Eirenei Ariu Toleafoa
Asuao Taalili Williams has saved many lives and minimised property damages avoiding family miseries throughout his career as a fire fighter and Commissioner of Fire Services for 10 years.
No one can forget the disastrous fire which gutted the historical Tivoli Theatre in 1981 on August 6th.
Instead of saving the theatre, Asuao as Commissioner ordered his team to contain the flames from spreading to neighboring families. And it was a success. Not a single home was gutted by fire.
The Samoa Post Office fire which threatened a neighboring family business. Commissioner Asuao placed himself in harm’s way to save the property. To acknowledge Asuao and the Fire Services, the family gifted them with $25,000.
Asuao also saved the day in 1983 while Samoa hosted the South Games. The fire at one of the warehouses at the wharf converted into a sports facility had threatened the athletes and spectators.
The threatening flames were diminished with no casualties and competition resuming without any further disruptions.
These are just a few of the highlights during Asuao’s career.
Hailing from Letava, Vaoala and Siumu and the 78 years old Asuao started his career life with the Air New Zealand Company in 1966. He later served at New Zealand’s Fire and Emergency Services Organization from 1973 to 1974. He has also served the U.S. Navy at Vietnam (active war) for 5 years.
Asuao was appointed as Samoa’s Commissioner for the Fire and Emergency Services Authority in 1980 and served 10 years. He was known for his bravery and heart in serving his country through many emergencies in Samoa and lives he saved.
He is a man who serves his village, church and district and also made significant contributions to the betterment of his people.
He developed a farm in Siumu, where many people from neighboring villages worked. This firm produced boxes of taro and pasio for export and was a good source of income for him and his family.
Leading the district march and blocking the road to Tiavi in order for the government to return the lands owned by its people was also one of the milestones in Asuao’s life.