When Nick Wild moved to town in 2012, he planned to stay for 12 months, but on July 15 he celebrated 15 years with NSW Fire and Rescue at the Gunnedah station.
Deputy captain Paul Hartley presented Nick received his three-stripe epaulettes on Monday and captain David Welch said he was "a valued member of the our team" and "brings a wealth of experience and professionalism".
Nick joined the Branxton brigade at the age of 18, three years after his brother.
He said it was inevitable that he'd wear the uniform, growing up under the roof of his father who signed up the year Nick was born.
"It was just always going to happen; that's what dad did," Nick said.
Being the son of a firefighter gave Nick bragging rights - "in a small town, it was a big deal" - and like many of the firefighter's children in those days, Nick spent plenty of time underfoot at the station.
He has many memories of Santa riding the fire truck around town on Christmas Eve doing "the lolly run", water fights and climbing all over the trucks.
When he joined the brigade in 2004, Nick said the training was less formal.
"Sit in the back seat and just shut up and watch and just learn," he said.
"It was a lot more hands-on."
He was among the new generation of firefighters coming up through the ranks, starting at the same time as the son of another firefighter.
"It was a big deal, fathers and sons. It was pretty cool," Nick said.
Nick only spent two years at the station before transferring to Singleton where he stayed for five years. In January 2012, his family shifted to Gunnedah, and he became part of the local brigade.
"That's the beauty of moving to a new town, and one thing I didn't have to struggle with ... When you have the ability to transfer to another station, you straight away have a connection with someone because we're all firies," Nick said.
A 12-month stay went out the window and the Wilds bought a house and have well and truly settled in.
"This is by far the best station I have been in," Nick said.
"It's got a great mix of personalities and experience and it's very well run and very well supported by the group of guys you have here."
We're the agency you call when you don't know who to call because we have such a huge array of skillsNick Wild, Fire and Rescue
The firefighter lives and breathes emergency preparedness through his primary work role and Fire and Rescue and likes to share his knowledge with others.
"I enjoy this work, emergency response type work ... It's an interest I have," he said.
"[I like] the variety of it all. You get a call, you don't know what you're going to; it could be good or bad. It's never really the same."
Nick said "firefighting is a small part of being a firie these days" and the Gunnedah station embraced the knowledge and experience of all its members.
"Everyone has their own unique set of skills," he said.
"That's the good thing about the way that this place is run - it's never just one hard and fast set way ... That's the new face of Fire and Rescue.
"A friend of mine ... [said] we're the agency you call when you don't know who to call because we have such a huge array of skills."