Masterton's Bevan Hefferen was yesterday recognised for his "outstanding service" to the Returned and Services Association.
RSA National President BJ (Barry) Clark presented Mr Hefferen with a Merit badge and certificate at the Wairarapa Services and Citizens Club.
A visibly emotional Mr Hefferen accepted the honour and later told the Times-Age he was "overwhelmed" and had done "nothing really" to deserve it.
Mr Hefferen has been involved in the RSA since 1969, and with the Masterton RSA for the past 16 years.
"I was coerced into the RSA committee in my first year here," he said.
"I was made vice-president then elevated to president and was made a life member, and here I am."
Since stepping down as president in 2009, Mr Hefferen set up and looks after the club's historical war museum, and arranges the monthly members' day with guest speakers. He was nominated for the honour by Masterton RSA president Bob Hill, who said it was important "that we recognise people who give up their time freely for the benefit of others".
Mr Hefferen said it was fitting he should receive the honour from Mr Clark, as the pair served in the same unit at Burnham in the 1970s.
NEXT WEEK: Mr Hefferen gives the Times-Age a tour of the RSA museum.