For Fire and Rescue Belmont station officer Allen Jenkins, being able to help someone on what might be the worst day of their life is the most worthwhile part of his role.
That's why he's remained in the job for almost 41 years, and why it's so difficult for him to leave the fire brigade and retire.
But Mr Jenkins says it's his time, and is ready to hand over the reins to someone else.
"I still love the fire brigade, I've always loved the job," he said.
"It's a very odd feeling [to be leaving]. I'm a little bit numb at the moment. After 40 years I won't be saying I'm a firefighter anymore.
"But there comes a time when you have to move on. I'm want to spend more time with my beautiful wife."
Mr Jenkins joined the brigade at the age of 19. He started at The Rocks, spent time at headquarters and was a relieving officer around Sydney before moving to Caves Beach in 2000. From there he spent five years at Cardiff, did some more relieving then moved to Belmont, where he has been for the past 10 years.
But it wasn't initially a career Mr Jenkins was completely drawn towards.
"To be honest, I just loved the idea of shift work," Mr Jenkins said about his decision to become a firefighter.
"It wasn't until I joined that I realised how good it really was. Everyday on the job is different. You never know how the day is going to go when you get to work."
He said the calls ranged from car crashes and house fires to retrieving cats from trees and even removing a ring stuck on someone's finger.
"Most people when they don't know who to call will ring the fire brigade," he said.
Among those jobs have been some difficult ones. But Mr Jenkins said those were the ones where he felt the most reward.
"There was one accident a few years ago, a young chap who crashed his car near the Big Prawn," he said. "We had to free him after he was trapped for about 30 hours.
"He had a fantastic recovery and for him to come to the station six months later and say thank you was amazing.
You see people on their worst days and hopefully you can make it a bit better for them.Allen Jenkins
"You get a lot of satisfaction out of rescues.
"You see people on their worst days and hopefully you can make it a bit better for them.
"But even things like changing smoke alarm batteries for elderly people, the stories you hear are incredible."
And with the tough jobs, where things don't go to plan, Mr Jenkins said that's where workmates come in.
"We sit around and talk about it and have a cup of tea. You always get through it."