40 YEARS: Serving town gives firey ‘warm fuzzy feeling’
A MAN loyal to the town he lives in and loves has been honoured with the Australian Fire Service Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours list on Monday.
Fire and Rescue NSW Ballina Captain Dennis Henry has served his community as a retained firefighter for 40 years, and as captain since 1999.
He said it was "very rewarding" and a "true privilege" to be named among Australia's most dedicated firefighters.
However, men like Mr Henry and his 18 brigade members carry out lifesaving services through the year without reward or recognition.
"We don't look for a pat on the back or any reward," Mr Henry said.
"The town you live in is home to the people you are looking after.
"It's a job that brings self-satisfaction, a warm and fuzzy feeling inside."
Being a firefighter was a childhood dream for Mr Henry, who has made it a lifelong reality.
"All young boys and a lot of young girls now aspire to be a firefighter," he said.
"A lot of people stay on for a few years, I've stayed on for good."
The award comes after a hectic year for Mr Henry and his brigade.
Many of them work two jobs, which made the task of coordinating the team's bushfire relief efforts cumbersome.
"There's definitely been a higher workload," Mr Henry said.
"It would be the same for nearly all emergency services in these parts.
"Getting away has been a pretty big ask for my brigade, but we managed to send crews to Rappville, Canungra (QLD) and Port Macquarie."
The fire brigade recommended Mr Henry for the award, which recognises distinguished service by members of Australian fire services.