ONE of the longest-serving firefighters in Dorset has received a special award at Sturminster Newton.
Watch Manager John Drew received the Dorset Fire and Rescue Service's special Making a Difference Award in recognition of almost 40 years' service.
Chief Fire Officer Darran Gunter also presented him with the Queen's Jubilee Medal for 2012.
John joined the then Dorset Fire Brigade as a cadet in March 1973. He was promoted to Leading Firefighter in 1991 and also provided day cover at Gillingham from his workplace at Sigma-Aldrich. He eventually became Sturminster Newton Watch Manager.
Mr Gunter said: "Every year we recognise and celebrate individuals who have completed 20 years of service.
"It is a unique privilege to celebrate the commitment, professionalism and difference that John has made during nearly 40 years of service."
He described John's career as "a unique achievement by a unique officer".
Area Commander Dorset Ben Ansell paid tribute to John's personal dedication, commitment and sacrifice to the North Dorset community.
He added: "Together with his self-motivation, he has achieved the position of second in command at Sturminster Newton, enabling him to pass on his knowledge and expertise, to coach, mentor and support new members to the service as they embark on their own careers."
John revealed that in 2009 he received the call that every firefighter dreads when he was told his own daughter, Laura, had been in a road accident.
Fortunately she made a full recovery and John decided to continue in his operational role, a move hailed by Mr Ansell as "indicating a high level of moral courage".
John told the 100 friends, family and firefighters who gathered for the presentation that the event was one of the best moments of his career.
John, supported by his wife Jasmine and many other people, had also been a keen fundraiser for the Firefighters Charity, raising thousands of pounds in the Sturminster Newton area over the past 40 years.