PETER Dunn would like to thank his wife for supporting his firefighting career all these years.
The Walcha Fire and Rescue NSW captain is still at the helm of the brigade after more than four decades and he's just been given an Australian Fire Service Medal.
Throughout his career he has recruited, trained and mentored numerous firefighters under his command, including two of his sons.
"I just liked the idea of being a firefighter and helping the community, I lived across the road from the old saw mill and their used to be a fair few fires there when I was young and that gave me the idea," he said.
"I just went in and asked if they had a position, in those days you had to wait about nine years to get a position."
Mr Dunn led his crew during the 1994 and horrific Black Summer bushfires, the 1996 Sydney hailstorms and the 2017 North Coast floods.
He has been given the Australian Fire Service Medal for his dedication to his community through both fire safety and prevention initiatives and timely responses to incidents.
When he's not at the station, Mr Dunn volunteers to help military service personnel through the RSL Sub-Branch, and was named Walcha's Citizen of the Year in 2016.
Mr Dunn started in 1977 and while he'd like to retire, he's still working to build up the crew.
"I could have retired but I'm short of men, so I'm in the process of building up a new, younger crew," he said.
"All the older fellows have retired or left town.
"I feel very privileged to be given this award actually, it's something I didn't really expect to happen but some people must have thought I was worthy enough to nominate me.
"I'd like to thank my wife for putting up with it for all these years and the people who nominated me."
Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Paul Baxter congratulated Mr Dunn for his 44-years of dedication to the service.
"A humble and modest man, Captain Dunn is widely respected in the Walcha community for dedicating his life to the fire service," he said.
"Appointed captain in 1980, he has recruited and trained many new firefighters during his distinguished career.
"He has attended countless emergency incidents and sadly, due to the remoteness of the town, has often been first on scene only to discover the people involved are known to him.
"This a sad reality that many of our on-call firefighters face because they are a vital part of the community they so diligently serve."
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