COMMITMENT and dedication often determines the success in anyone's life story.
Being a firefighter for over 30 years speaks volumes of the kind of obligation one has for the discipline.
For 70-year-old Amasa Naului, joining the force meant putting others first. He learnt this at an early age when he joined the Sigatoka Town board fire station as a volunteer in 1972.
Growing up in Yavulo Village in Nadroga, Mr Naului earned a measly 15 cents an hour as a volunteer working his way up over the years.
Upon retirement on January 1 this year, Mr Naului returned to the village with his family, offering his services to the community and church.
Firefighting is not an easy job. It requires you to always be alert - you have to be on your toes and prepared for any disastrous situations as it happens, he said.
A father of two, one of Mr Naului's son, Rusiate Kunabuli is also a firefighter.
It also means spending time away from your family for long periods of time and risking your life to save others, he added.
The discipline also requires a certain level of fitness and awareness. It can be very tough but the satisfaction of being able to help and protect lives outweighs any risk taken.
It took Amasa 10 years to move up from being a volunteer to a fully-fledged firefighter in 1982.
He retired as a station officer and was awarded a medal of recognition for his 30-odd years of dedication and service to the force.
Even though I'm retired now, my heart is still ready to serve. I guess as age catches up and years of physical wear and tear, and exposure to harsh conditions while on duty, it's time for me to dedicate my life to becoming a servant of the people or my vanua, he said.
Mr Naului has also encouraged four members of his extended family to become firefighters.
Today, I spend most of my time helping out with village and vanua development projects and awareness programmes.
Growing up in the village, I was always taught the importance of family and the vanua. I guess I learnt the value of appreciating life, and the people and things around us.
However, I grew up in a different time and age. I believe today's generation needs to take education very seriously.
Times are much harder now than it was 30 years ago, so having a good education will help you in the long-run, he said.
With a supportive family system under the willful guidance of his wife Salote Tuvou, Mr Naului re-emphasised the importance of commitment and dedication.
You need these two in whatever journey you take in life. I've carried out my work with these two values in mind and it got me through a lot of obstacles, he said.
Retirement may have slowed me down a bit, it certainly has not stopped me from doing what I love doing - that is serving people the best way I can.
Mr Naului paid tribute to the fire authority for the support over his 30-year career, moulding him into the man he is today.
* Rupeni Fonmanu is a volunteer at the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park under the National Trust of Fiji.