When NSW Ambulance Inspector Peter Rowlands opened an email saying he was to receive an Ambulance Service Medal on Australia Day, he initially thought it was a scam.
Thankfully, he didn't hit delete.
"I rang Canberra to see if it was junk mail when it came, and the guy ensured me it wasn't," he said.
"He got quite a giggle out of that."
Mr Rowlands, who lives in Gooloogong and oversees the region including Parkes and Forbes, accepted the accolade on January 26 after 48 years in the NSW Ambulance service.
He said the award reflects the dedication and sacrifices made by his family and the staff he has worked with over the years.
"I'd only accept it on behalf of my family who have gone through my length of service as well," he said.
"Every time the phone rings you get up and you go out and they assume you will come back.
"I would [also] only accept the award on behalf of all the amazing staff that I've had to work with over the years because without the staff, there's no position for me."
During his time with the service, Mr Rowlands has worked in a number of leadership roles and delivered clinical services, innovation and staff support.
He played a key role in the original roll-out of defibrillators to every ambulance in the state, an Australian first at the time.
He also established NSW Ambulance's first ever equestrian team in the early 1990s, which competed throughout the state.
Mr Rowlands said he has seen plenty of change throughout the years - for the good and bad - including the introduction of double teams instead of a single officer to attend jobs, helicopter backup, vehicle safety and sadly, an increasing amount of assaults on paramedics.
"The change in my time in the job has been our clinical care, what we can offer people today is just absolutely amazing," he said.
"That progress has been fantastic I think.
"Society is a lot more dangerous... no one would ever think of assaulting an ambo, sometimes you get two or three a day now.
"In terms of patient care, we are leaps and bounds ahead of what we could ever offer, it's wonderful.
"It's been a privilege to be part of all that... Who knows where it will go."
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