Twenty-four years ago David (Dave) West was awarded a Stratford District Council Citizens Award for his dedication to a number of groups and committees in the district.
While many might have chosen to rest on their laurels at that point, Dave hasn't, going on to continue volunteering his time and skills for nigh-on another quarter-century.
This continuation of service to his community has led to Dave being named as the 2020 recipient of the Stratford District Council Outstanding Citizens Award, an award he says is "an honour" to receive.
"I was honoured the first time I got the Citizens Award, this time I was so shocked when they told me that I was getting another award, I was shocked, but honoured too."
At 76 years old, Dave says he and his wife Alison have "heaps" of mokopuna, including 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. They aren't the only ones to call Dave "koru" though - in his many years of volunteering at Stratford High School he has become known as "koru" to many there as well.
His involvement with the high school has included mentoring a number of younger community members in Stratford and supporting the school with pōwhiri and other tikanga Māori.
His motivation for helping at the high school, as well as working with young people in the district in other ways as well, is simple, he says.
"You have got to look after your own back yard before anyone else's. We need to look after our young people."
Dave is a life member of Whakaahurangi Marae and in fact has been involved with the marae since it was first established in Stratford in the 1970s. He has always been on the committee at the marae, including spending eight years as president. It's a place the community can be proud of, he says.
"I'm very proud of what we do here."
Dave served in the Territorial Force and can still recite his service number without stopping to think.
"I had that number hammered into me when I was in the army."
While he has long since retired from the Territorials, Dave has remained connected to the military community in a variety of ways, from being a member of the Stratford and District RSA, where he held committee roles such as president and vice president at times, to supporting the District and Senior Citizens Club since the Stratford branch of the RSA closed in 2017.
His military past also inspired him to step up when the local Air Training Corp unit, No 46 Squadron, was at risk of closing. He took on the role of president with the squadron for a few years to ensure it could keep going.
"I didn't want it to go, it does a lot of good for young people in the district, introducing them to the military and giving them opportunities to learn new skills. I wanted it to keep going for the community."
Dave is also a life member of the New Zealand Association of the Legion of Frontiersmen, a group he joined in the 1970s.
"I got involved because I liked what they did. Looking after the community, helping out at sports matches and other community events by providing security as well as traffic and parking control."
It's not just been through the Legion of Frontiersmen that Dave has spent many hours at events in the district. He has also volunteered with the Order of St John for more than 20 years, becoming a familiar face on the sidelines at numerous events.
Of being a life member of the Māori Wardens, an organisation Dave has been involved for over 50 years, he says it is all about community.
"It's about looking after your own. Stratford is my hometown, you have to look after it and the people in it."
Community is at the heart of everything Dave does, and he says he doesn't plan to stop anytime soon.
"A good community needs people to give their time to it. There's lots of good things happening in Stratford and it just feels natural to me to join in and get involved."