Kurrajong resident David King has spent over four decades serving the Hawkesbury community and now he has been recognised with a Rotary Emergency Services Award for NSW State Emergency Service.
The 59-year-old has been volunteering with Hawkesbury SES for 43 years, and today holds the position of Deputy Unit Commander.
He joined when he was 16, after being given the opportunity through Scouts and Venturers to join either the SES or the bushfire brigade.
He chose the SES but later ended up joining the NSW Rural Fire Service as well.
"The rest is history!" he laughed.
A volunteer at heart, Mr King has been with bushfire brigades in the Hawkesbury for 38 years, and is the Deputy Captain for Tennyson Rural Fire Brigade.
"I spent my last 10 years of employment as an employee of the RFS [in remote area firefighting and specialised operations], so I turned my hobby into my career," said the former food technologist.
Mr King was one of the founding members of Hawkesbury SES when it was developed in 1978 from the merger of Windsor SES and Colo SES, when Hawkebsury Municipal Council and Colo Shire Council merged.
"In 1985 we became the primary rescue organisation for the district. There is a group of us [including Hawkesbury SES Unit Controller Kevin Jones] that's been doing rescue for the community for 35 years, and doing road crash rescue in the district for 25 years."
He said every rescue operator has "a cupboard of skeletons" of former grisly rescues.
"We've had 35 years of challenges," he said.
An area he has specialised in over recent years has been large animal rescue.
"It's my passion. I train rescue squads all over the state in how to rescue horses and cattle. This is something especially needed in the Hawkesbury area, we do a huge number of horse rescues in the area," Mr King said.
"I'm usually the silly bugger who gets in the dam or climbs in the septic tank or hole to get them out!"
He said his work with SES and RFS went hand-in-hand.
"When we have floods we don't have fires, and when we have fires we don't have floods.
"Whether it's the RFS or the SES, it's all about giving back to your community. It's mates helping mates, it's community helping community.
"Here in the Hawkesbury, RFS and SES, we do it so well, we have that country flavour and we love to get in and help our mates."
What would be his message to the next generation of volunteers?
"You're going to learn so many life skills, and learn there's more to life than just money. When someone can look you in the eye and say thankyou, from the bottom of their heart, that's reward enough," Mr King said.
"It's also pretty adventurous, you get to do some pretty cool stuff, whether it's fires or rescues, you learn some amazing skills."