AROUND this time last year, Tony Tran was flicking through an edition of the Fairfield Champion when he came across an article that caught his eye.
The State Emergency Service in Fairfield was beginning its recruitment drive.
The Smithfield resident, 27, had just been made redundant from a factory job so the decision to join the SES was simple.
"I didn't know much about the SES but I've always wanted to do something meaningful and that's when I saw the article in the paper," Mr Tran said.
"It's only been about a year since I joined but I can see myself staying with the SES. Anyone can join — it doesn't matter how young or old you are."
Mr Tran, who was named 2012 Rookie of the Year, was one of 26 new recruits last year.
Rod Feltham, the deputy local controller for rescue and training, said Mr Tran was awarded in December for being "highly motivated and dedicated".
"For the award, we look for new recruits with outstanding contribution and someone who puts in the hard yards," he said.
"Tony certainly stood out from the rest."
This year's recruitment information night will be on February 4 at the Fairfield SES headquarters from 7.30pm.
To join the Fairfield SES call 132 500 or visit the Fairfield SES headquarters in Bareena Street, Cabramatta.