THE Country Fire Authority is like family to John Turner.
Wherever he moved within regional Victoria, he has always been a member of the local CFA.
"Basically you can go anywhere and if there's a fire brigade there, which there usually is, you immediately find people you can talk to and relate to," Mr Turner said.
"It is a big family," he said.
The 66-year-old was celebrated for 50 years of service at the CFA District 2 Awards Night last Friday.
Mr Turner joined the CFA at Campbells Creek in 1964. He continued his membership whenever his job with the State Electricity Commission required a move. He served at Chewton, Castlemaine, Sea Lake, Inglewood, Cohuna, Seymour and finally Bendigo.
In Bendigo he spent much of his time above the fire front in aeroplanes.
"You're the eyes in the sky. You're flying on those total fire ban days and you're looking at where it's going to go," he said.
"A lot of people don't realise just what you can see when you're watching in the air."
Mr Turner cannot remember how many fires he's attended.
He said the worst he was involved in were the Ash Wednesday fires at Strathbogie when a CFA crew member was killed.
"It still gets me even to this day," he said.
Mr Turner said his award wasn't just about his own achievements.
"It's more a recognition of what your family has put up with more than yourself," he said.