Never say never.
It is a simple mantra, but something that has always stood Kiama Downs father Malcolm Connellan in good stead.
During his 30-year career in Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), formerly NSW Fire Brigades, Mr Connellan has worked off the back of a fire truck, behind a desk and everywhere in between.
Abiding by his never-say-never attitude, he moved away from his passion to help the community and found enjoyment working in professional standards and human resource roles within the service.
"I've found myself in roles that I never would have picked out that I've found really, really interesting," Mr Connellan, chief of staff to the FRNSW Commissioner, said.
"I never planned to get to where I am in my career but I've got here because I've always been willing to give it a go ... you should never say never."
On Monday, Mr Connellan was awarded the Australian Fire Services Medal in the 2014 Queen's Birthday honours list.
The 54-year-old, who was shocked and humbled by the accolade, was recognised for his work developing and implementing critical electronic rostering and payroll systems within the service.
After joining the service in 1983, Mr Connellan served as a firefighter in several Sydney fire stations before being promoted to the role of Wollongong fire station officer in 1997, where he spent six years.
During that time he formed a partnership with Illawarra Area Health and the Lions Club to install more than 1000 smoke detectors in the homes of the elderly and underprivileged.
More recently, Mr Connellan helped organise FRNSW personnel to respond to the Japan tsunami, New Zealand earthquakes and Hazelwood mine fire in Victoria.
It has been a shift in pace from his early days working off the back of a fire truck, but something he has enjoyed.
"Our day starts when someone else's day has gone horribly wrong, so you get a fair bit of satisfaction out of helping, in that sense ... the biggest change in my career over the years has been that change from helping the community to helping the firies, but that has been a really nice change as well."