FOR nearly four decades Guy Duckworth has been part of the NSW Rural Fire Service family.
He joined in 1984 when he was "a little bit lost at the time" which led a friend into convincing him to join the service.
He has never left.
"I thought it was a great bunch of people and a lot of people will tell you when you join the RFS it gets into your blood," Mr Duckworth said.
Mr Duckworth was humbled when informed he would receive an Australian fire service medal as part of the 2021 Australia Day honours list.
"It's a huge honour and something that I didn't think I'd ever see," he said.
"It's really satisfying to be nominated and recognised by your peers because there are a lot of deserving winners around so I'm humbled I'm getting one.
"I'm one of those people who prefers to play in the shadows and leave it to other people to stand out the front and do what they've got to do."
After joining as a volunteer in the early 80s, he progressed to the role of deputy fire control officer for the Port Macquarie-Hastings Rural Fire District in 2000. This has now evolved through zoning changes to be the Mid Coast District where he holds the position of 2IC, and is also district coordinator for response coordination and infrastructure.
"I love my job; I love the people I work with," he said.
After nearly 40 years in the service, Mr Duckworth has seen some of the worst-ever fire conditions from a variety of different roles.
In 2003 he led strike teams into Canberra when a number of properties were lost.
But last year's fire season will be one which he remembers forever.
"I've never seen fires so ferocious like they were last year that take out so much property and land," he said.
"It was incredible to be a part of it and seeing the guys and girls who were out there day after day after day, month after month."
He admitted being in the control centre back at RFS headquarters provided different challenges to being out on the fireground.
"All you're doing is trying to get the people to do what they've got to do but at the same time you're worried because you're not out there looking after them," he said.
"You're telling them to go places where a normal person wouldn't go and that stays with you."
So what does he enjoy the most about being in the service?
"I get a sense of achievement pretty much every day," he said.
"I'm happy when I leave work at the end of the day because I know I've made a little bit of a difference to someone."