Like most NSW Police officers, Detective Inspector Dennis Clarke doesn't go to work seeking accolades or glory.
But after 39 years of ethical and diligent service to the force, he was due a good pat on the back.
Yesterday he enjoyed well-deserved praise, accepting the National Police Service Medal at the Lake Illawarra Area Command's annual awards ceremony.
"We don't join for rewards but it's pleasing to be recognised for the service you give," he said.
The Shellharbour man credited the support of family, friends and colleagues for his achievement.
After joining the force in 1973, Detective Inspector Clarke spent much of his career working as a plainclothes detective in the Illawarra and Sydney. He is now based at the Southern Region Command headquarters in Wollongong, working in the challenging professional standards division.
Nurse Susan Watts received the region commander's Certificate of Merit for valiantly assisting at a horrific crash at Yallah in June.
Ms Watts was driving to Wollongong Hospital when she witnessed the crash unfolding ahead.
"Right in front of me there was a truck rolling numerous times and dust blowing up," she said.
She dragged a severely injured woman from a crumpled car and rendered first aid; however sadly the woman died.
"I'm sure that there are millions of nurses out there that would have done absolutely the same if they had arrived at a scene like that," she said.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said Ms Watts was a fitting recipient.