Firefighter Colin (Curl) Santacaterina became a firefighter in Childers more than 40 years ago and over that time has attended too many fires and other emergency incidents to remember.
His years of dedicated service were recognised in the Australia Day Honours list with the awarding of the Australian Fire Service Medal.
Curl, as he generally known, began service with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) as a volunteer rural firefighter in February 1980. He has served in a range of frontline roles including at Childers' Fire and Rescue Station where he held the position of auxiliary captain for close to 20 years.
He is currently continuing his service as a volunteer rural firefighter at the Childers Rural Fire Brigade.
The 74-year-old's nomination describes him as an outstanding community leader who gives countless hours to attend brigade activities, with roles including vehicle and building maintenance, hazard reduction activities, training, and countless fires.
"He is often the first to be there to assist and his level of commitment is outstanding. He is highly respected for his knowledge, professionalism, experience, and leadership skills."
Back in 1980 Curl and a mate put their hands up to become firefighters at the town about 50 kilometrres south of Bundaberg, because "someone had to do it".
"Back then the work was different, you just went to fires you didn't go to car crashes and chemical spills," he said. "But once you get into it, it's hard to give it up."
Childers is a charming tourism and agricultural town, popular with grey nomads, on the Bruce Highway. Its population and that of surrounding areas has grown over the years and so has the fire brigade's work load.
Some years are busier than others. Last summer Curl worked 30 days straight fighting bush fires.
He said it was harder to get new members now. "Years ago people would stay in their patch, now they move away for work etc."