NOT many employees can say they still love their profession after four decades, but Michael Fitzpatrick is able to.
The Muswellbrook paramedic celebrated 40 years with the NSW Ambulance service last week - and marked the occasion with his colleagues at the local station.
He began his career at Fairfield, in Sydney, in 1979 and remained there until transferring to Muswellbrook in January, 1989.
But, it wasn't his first choice of vocation.
"I was an electrician by trade and the company I worked for put us through a first aid course," Mr Fitzpatrick said.
"And, I enjoyed that.
"Then I happened to be out one night with a friend, who had joined the ambulance service.
"He started talking about it - and I thought 'geez, that sounds really interesting'.
"So, I decided to apply for the job.
"A month later, I was virtually in the role.
"I went to Rozelle to do my induction [school], spent about four weeks there, before being posted to Fairfield."
Mr Fitzpatrick's now been part of the Muswellbrook landscape for 30 years - an accomplishment he definitely relishes.
"I just enjoy coming to work," he said.
"We're a close-knit group; we all get along together.
"I like the company of the fellas here - and the girls.
"It's probably a big reason why I'm still around [after 40 years].
"It's truly enjoyable.
"I enjoy the work I do, as well as the people I come across (including the patients)."
Mr Fitzpatrick admits he's witnessed many transformations in the service over the past four decades.
"There's been a huge change, as far as training goes," the 65-year-old said.
"When I first joined, we had an oxy-viver and a penthrane inhaler for pain relief.
"And, that was about it.
"However, training has increased phenomenally over the years, to the point where we can look after our patients really well.
"To be honest, we provide first-class free hospital care.
"I think that's been the biggest change.
"But, I've thoroughly enjoyed my time up to now.
"Although I've still got a little bit to go before I do pull the pin.
"I haven't decided on a retirement date yet."