In 1953 Ian Robinson was laying on the beach when he was asked to fill in as a patient for the local surf lifesavers.
Now, 67 years later, Robinson has been given a Queen's Service Medal for services to surf lifesaving and the community.
Although, the Waihī Beach resident jokes: "I am 85 years old now so I won't have it for long".
It was that day in 1953 when Robinson joined the local surf club after the boys were impressed with his swimming ability.
He hasn't looked back since, holding the positions of president, secretary, lifesaver, instructor, examiner, logistics officer, maintenance officer and a life member - all while running McLeay's Shoes in Waihi.
For more than 30 years, he has organised and sponsored the Annual Waihi Beach Fun Run, raising many thousands of dollars for the club.
But when you try to understand what drives the man who has been in the water since the early 50s, its as simple as "I enjoy helping people".
"I think it is just part and parcel of who I am, I just like to help people."
And that he does.
Robinson volunteered for the Waihī police search and rescue operations for 45 years.
He continues to take guided tours around Waihī Beach, donating proceeds to the surf life-saving club, as well as taking people on tours in his boat with these proceeds going to the local St John Ambulance Association.
He helps generally in the community by coaching young athletes, chopping firewood, running errands, donating produce and handing out Christmas dinners to those in need, all on a voluntary basis.
On top of this Robinson has been a Justice of the Peace for 28 years and has been a councillor and president on the Hauraki Justices of the Peace Association Committee.
And now, with his new honour, the humble Robinson can't help but giggle at his name.
"Ian Arthur Robinson QSM JP - sounds a bit ridiculous, doesn't it?"
There have been many many highlights for him over his years of service - hundreds from 1953 'til now, he said.
But after all he has accomplished, it is his wife and four sons, all of whom followed in his footsteps that he is most proud of.
"I've had so many things I have achieved, things that I have wanted to do, but having a healthy family is as good as anything."