Daventry fire station's watch manager has been awarded a British Empire Medal.
Michael Humphries was recognised for services to the Daventry community and its fire service, of which he has been a member for 43 years.
People are nominated in confidence for the honour so Mr Humphries doesn't know who put his name forward for the medal, and he had no idea he won one until a letter from the Government arrived at his home.
"I was not expecting it at all," said 63-year-old Mr Humphries.
"When I first heard about it, it came as a big surprise.
"I shared the news with my wife but it was hard to keep it a secret to the rest of the family."
Mr Humphries began his time in the fire service at the Long Buckby station in 1973 on a part-time basis while working for British Timken.
He later transferred to Daventry fire station in 1978 and started working in the service full-time 12 years ago.
His 40 years of service was recognised at the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service awards in October 2017.
Mr Humphries thanked his crew members and his family, who have all supported him throughout his time in the fire service.
"It's an honour to accept it but being a fireman for many, many years, my family have played their part because you're on call a lot of the time and may have to leave home at any time," he said.
The crew at Daventry fire station offered their congratulations to their watch manager via a post on Facebook.
"Behind every member of the fire service is a supportive network of family and friends, so to all Mick's family...thank you," read the message.