Stawell SES volunteer John Hooper has received an Emergency Services Medal, part of the 2020 Australia Day Honours.
The official investiture to be hosted later in the year for the national recognition.
Mr Hooper, Stawell's deputy controller, has been part of the Stawell Unit for over 40 years, and during that time specialised in road crash rescue as well as search and rescue operations.
"One of the most rewarding parts of being a VICSES volunteer is actually training up new members," he said.
"I have undertaken specialist search and rescue training, and being able to pass on those skills, and see others flourish, is just wonderful."
Mr Hooper is qualified in urban Search and Rescue, and was part of important search efforts during Black Saturday fires (2009) and Grampians landslides (2011), and flew to Greece in 2018 to help with fire support efforts there.
"Helping out in Greece after their devastating 2018 fires was just incredible - locals had lost everything and were still offering to help wherever they could," he said.
The Stawell Unit stalwart has also travelled to numerous countries to learn innovative rescue techniques, something he has brought back to Victoria and shared with fellow volunteers.
"I think the reason I've been with VICSES so long is because I genuinely love helping my community at home in Stawell - I joined in December 1978 and never looked back," he said.
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It has been Australia's lost summer. Drought, hail, floods and, worst of all, bushfires have ravaged communities all over the nation. But the selfless actions of friends, family, neighbours, strangers, local groups and volunteer organisations have inspired us and strengthened the bonds of community. Please join us in saying thanks to the heroes of the home front by sharing your stories of gratitude. To salute a person or a group, please use the form below.