Warrnambool's Doug Heazlewood has been honoured for a life-time of service to the army, veterans and their families.
The Order of Australia Medal he received in the Queen's birthday honours was something, he said, that came "completely out of the blue".
"I always maintain I've tried not to do things to play to a grandstand, I'd rather do what I do and be in the background," he said.
But his work - much of it behind the scenes - has not gone unnoticed.
Mr Heazlewood said he never set out to join the army but "fell into it".
After four years at Duntroon doing officer training he went on to do basic training in artillery duties and before he knew it was posted overseas.
He left for Vietnam in the first week of May 1966 and saw conflict during the famous Battle of Long Tan.
While the memories of the conflict were not always pleasant, he said they were "net positive" because of the camaraderie of those he fought alongside.
After returning to Australia, he stayed in the army which gave him a "softer landing" than his fellow Vietnam Vets who returned to their small home towns where "no one had any idea what they'd been through or how to treat them".
Mr Heazlewood spent 23 more years in the army after Vietnam. Over that time he trained in Germany, worked for three years as an intelligence analyst for the UK Minister for Defence in London and later at the US Embassy in Washington.
"I've often said I wouldn't hand back one single day of the total 28 years I've had to do with the army," he said.
After leaving the army he went to work as General Manager of the Australian Government's Small Arms Factory in Lithgow which manufactured the army's rifles and machine guns.
By 1993 he had moved back home to Warrnambool where he took on roles with Legacy and a number of other community service organisations at a local and state level. Most recently he has been a member of the Committee of Management of the RSL.
Leading a tour of 13 secondary school students in 2014 on a cultural visit to Turkey for three weeks including a visit to the Anzac Day services was, he said, "a real highlight".
And the friendships that the students formed with each other, much like the camaraderie he'd experienced among his fellow soldiers on the battlefields, was something Mr Heazlewood said had warmed his heart.
But of all things that he had been involved in, the thing that brought him to tears was his work helping to bring the Aboriginal community closer to the RSL and seeing an Aboriginal memorial installed at Cannon Hill.
"Over the last 10 years since I've been in the RSL and on the committee, a couple of the other fellows and I have been working really hard to bring the Aboriginal community closer to us," he said.
"We've incorporated a lot of Aboriginal community elements into our ANZAC Day service and Vietnam Veterans Day.
"It lifts up my heart to be part of treating them properly. So I'm glad that's happening now."
It was his time fighting alongside Aboriginal soldiers in Vietnam - one in particular during the Battle of Long Tan - that made the task so important and close to his heart.
"There was a concept called 'the big green skin'. Once you put on the green uniform, you were all the same colour," he said.
His work helping others research their family war history through the family history group, and his involvement in bringing The Belgians exhibition to Warrnambool in 2016 was also acknowledged as part of his OAM.
But of all the highlights of his lifetime achievements, it is his wife Helen and their three children and five grand-children that he is most proud of.
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