After seven decades in the Rural Fire Service, Bill Dunn wouldn't change a thing.
The 85-year-old was presented with a long service award from NSW RFS commissioner Rob Rogers at the Mittagong Fire Control Centre on Friday, September 18.
Mr Dunn said he was pleased to receive the recognition.
"It's nice to be recognised. A bit humbling I would say," he said.
Mr Dunn started his career as a firefighter for Talmalmo in January 1950.
"Our property was in two brigade areas. My father took one [Bowna Wymah] and I took the other," he said.
"For young people on the farm it was the thing you did then. I was a basic firefighter, you did whatever was expected of you.
"We had great old captains who knew the bush. You learnt a great deal from them."
Later Mr Dunn was a responsible for the formation of the nearby Mt Wagra Brigade between the late '70s and early '80s.
He fought some large fires, including the Mangoplah fire in 1952 and the Cookardinia fire in 1985.
During his time with the brigade, Mr Dunn served in leadership positions including captain, senior deputy and deputy. The RFS team is still operating today.
Mr Dunn has also served the Southern Highlands as a firefighter.
He has assisted with several large incidents, including the derailment of a train in Robertson and a fire in Fitzroy Falls started by a helicopter crash.
When the calls came in, Mr Dunn generally thrived under pressure.
"I think I've always been lucky. Andrenaline hasn't been a problem. You just adapt to the situation and do what needs to be done," he said.
"Some jobs are very unpleasant when deaths are concerned.
"In those days I told my troops to leave the incident where it happened, don't take it home with you.
"If you take it away with you, you might have problems."
He said fatal road crashes were particularly difficult, however he drew on previous on-the-job experience in those situations.
Today, Mr Dunn is a retired Group Officer at the Mittagong Fire Control Centre.
He keeps the fire brigades running by ordering and issuing uniforms as well as providing firefighting equipment to volunteers.
He has been kept very busy lately, as more than 90 new volunteers joined the brigade after the summer bushfires.
After many years, what keeps Mr Dunn in the RFS is "the people".
"It's the friends you make. It's like a big family, everyone cares for everyone," he said.
Beyond the RFS, Mr Dunn is an active member of the Southern Highlands community and enjoys tending to his garden.
He recommends other people in the RFS enjoy hobbies to combat stressful situations on the job.
"You learn to leave situations where they happen, not take it home," he said.
"You do need interests of whatever type.
"I've got a big vegetable garden, it's a hobby. I grow virtually everything you need.
"I give a lot away and it's nice to be able to do that."
Mr Dunn recommends prospective firefighters do their research before joining the RFS.
"Be aware of what you're entering into. Make sure you know what's expected of you," he said.
"The best thing to do is to go to your local brigade and have a talk to them. Get an idea of what's required.
"I certainly recommend it as something to do."