A Royal Australian Navy (RAN) captain who is soon to become a commodore has a "clear memory" of a sailor handing him a recruitment brochure in Dubbo's former Civic Centre.
Dubbo-born Anthony Klenthis, coming to the city to lead its Anzac Day march on Thursday, was with classmates from St John's Primary School when his destiny was decided.
"I remember being handed the brochure," he told the Daily Liberal. "I still have it to this day. It obviously planted a seed."
This month Captain Klenthis was "surprised" when told he would become a commodore on July 1.
He will become part of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) senior leadership team.
The promotion follows the announcement on Australia Day that Captain Klenthis had received the Conspicuous Service Cross for his work in the RAN, including deployment to places like Afghanistan.
On April 11 it was presented to him by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove.
When Captain Klenthis takes part in Dubbo's Anzac Day commemorations he will be telling its youth to "aim high" in their chosen fields.
"It was just that sailor handing me that brochure back in fifth class that led me to where I am now," he said.
"I really want to encourage young kids to get out and get amongst it."
Captain Klenthis welcomed the invitation from Dubbo RSL Sub Branch to take part in Anzac Day and get back to the city "where it all began".
He will represent the ADF at the church service at St Brigid's Catholic Church, lead the march and speak at the 11am service.
"Dubbo is about as far away as you can get from life at sea," Captain Klenthis said.
"But there is a fundamental strength of character that the bush breeds in people along with optimism, resilience and that sense of mateship that has really defined who I am.
"Being able to actually come back to my birthplace and also represent the ADF is a great honour."
As Anzac Day approaches, Captain Klenthis reports of Australia's "quiet patriotism".
"It's what gets people out of bed when it's still dark to stand around a monument and remember the sacrifice and service of others," he said.
"You know that while you're standing where you are, that hundreds of thousands of people are gathered in the dark in the country and overseas doing exactly the same thing.
"Anzac Day to me is the one time we remember as a community the service and sacrifice others have made so we can lead the lives we have today."