West Nowra firefighter Victor Judson is marking 52 years of exceptional service with the RFS.
The West Nowra RFS members gathered at their station on Tuesday night and celebrated with speeches and cake to commend Mr Judson's long-standing dedication to protecting the community.
Mr Judson has attended countless fires, both local and out of area as well as firefighting for Sydney Water and with the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
He first joined the RFS Appin Brigade in 1969. Mr Judson then transferred to the Cambewarra Brigade in 1988 and transferred to Illaroo Road Brigade in 1999.
Today, he is still fighting fires as a deputy captain.
He said one of his favourite parts of the job has been watching firefighting evolve over the years.
"When I joined, we had brass fitting nozzles and 30 kilo knapsacks made of steel," Mr Judson said.
"You just went and did what you had to do, there was no training like there is today, it used to be all out on the field."
Asked whether he had any standout memories, Mr Judson said all of the big fires have stuck with him.
"Some of the big fires that I worked on in 2001 and 2002, and the last ones we've had always stay with me. They're always different. But the last one we've had is the worst one I've ever seen. And I don't want to see another one like that," he said.
"I will also always remember going down to Victoria when they had the Black Saturday fires.
"But let me put it this way, after 50 years, when you've been out and pulling people out of cars, you start to not let it affect you.
"One way to deal with these things is to always talk about it with your crew."
Over the years, Mr Judson has received many accolades and rewards for his service, including a 50 year bushfire brigade service medal, and two long-service awards for 25 years and 15 years.
The Judson family of North Nowra have well and truly provided exceptional service to the RFS. Between Victor, Michael and Greg, they have more than 100 years of combined service, with Greg Judson giving 36 years to the service.
During his speech, Captain Mark Oddy said: "For me, Victor is more than just a bloke who has long service. He's a bloke that I learn from every time I talk to him.
"Victor represents our roots."
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