Wamboin man Peter Cullerne has been awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to defence veterans and their families.
Cullerne, a Royal Australian Air Force veteran and metal fabricator by trade, was in the RAAF Association 4th/5th squadron sub-branch for 25 years.
He was a serving RAAF member when, in the mid-1990s, he drove to Albury with a colleague to attend a meeting of the 4th/5th squadron sub-branch.
"They were World War II veterans in those days," Cullerne said.
"We offered to take over their committee for them. Their response was positive and we turned around and drove back to Canberra.
"That's how it started."
Since then, he has held every position on the committee and remains active, organising reunions, sending out newsletters and keeping people in touch with one another.
With only three of the original WWII veterans still alive, the focus has switched to Vietnam and younger veterans.
Cullerne also volunteers as a metalwork teacher at the Veterans' Support Centre in Canberra. "It's a lot to do with keeping veterans active and keeping those memories alive, especially the memories of the ones who didn't make it," he said.
"It's also good for their mental health to keep those contacts and to socialise."
Cullerne described how, in the early days of his involvement, he would print the newsletters - about 500 at a time - at home.
He recruited his family to help fold them and put them into envelopes, "so I'm accepting this award on my family's behalf," he laughed.
During his service in the RAAF, Cullerne was an aircraft fitter. Post-service, he has worked as a metal fabricator and metalwork teacher at CIT.
He had a part-time contract with the Australian War Memorial for 18 months helping to refurbish a bomber that was "in bits on the floor out at Mitchell" and which is now a static display in the Australian War Memorial.
He has also been an active member of the Wamboin brigade of the Rural Fire Service (RFS) for 20 years.
It's keeping veterans active and ... those memories alive.Peter Cullerne, Wamboin