"I get up every morning and I love coming to work," Steve Johns told a crowd of fellow firefighters.
The Greerton senior firefighter did not expect to be awarded for something he loved doing at the Fire Emergency New Zealand Celebrating Success Awards 2017 on Thursday.
But he gladly accepted the Community Enrichment award alongside Fire Risk Management Officer Jess Johnson from Waikato at Classic Flyers.
The pair were awarded the joint award for their work in establishing a youth development programme in Hamilton for troubled young men in September 2013.
Johns said the programme was established to help young men who had struggled with behavioural issues and needed to overcome their fears and find confidence.
"Seeing the positive impact the programme has on these boys is incredible," he said.
"You can see the difference it makes."
Johns helped run the programme in Hamilton until he transferred to the Greerton station in 2015.
His mentor as a young man was his father, who was also a firefighter.
Johns had been called to countless fires, fatals and emergencies which he said never left a fireman's mind. But the one job that stuck with him the most was being called to the Christchurch earthquakes.
"It was the whole scene of chaos and the lives lost and the destruction of a community gone within 12 seconds," Johns said.
But despite the tragedy, he would not trade his job for anything else.
"I enjoy the role," Johns said. "It is not about the big red truck for me, I enjoy being in the community."
Winner for Safety Health and Wellbeing
- Station officer Andrew Chappell, Kawerau
Winner for Operational Efficiency
- Neil Albert, Region 2 Fleet Co-ordinator
Winner for Risk Reduction
- Senior firefighter Leon Kahn, Gisborne
Winner for Community Enrichment
- FRMO Jess Johnson, Waikato, and Senior firefighter Steve Johns, Greerton
Winner for Leadership
- Senior firefighter Tim Lister, Gisborne
- Chief Fire Officer Merv George, Whitianga, and senior firefighter Leanne Cryer, Puriri