Tony Cockburn has spent the past 48 years working with Australian Army Cadets. His service to youth over that time has earned him the Order of Australia medal.
Mr Cockburn has had many achievements already, but felt this was the best of all.
"I am very honoured to receive the award, but humbled as well," Mr Cockburn said.
"I've had a number of achievements with the cadets, but this is very special.
"I'm very happy and surprised.
"I would like to thank my wife Robyn and my family for their support and all the officers of cadets I have worked with over the years."
Mr Cockburn found out by chance that he was to receive this award.
"I was sitting at my desk doing cadet work on the computer when I got a phone call from Government House," he said.
"I asked the caller where the email was sent to.
"They had sent the email to the school where I worked.
"I had retired about 18 months before and had no access to any school emails."
Having been involved with cadets since 1971, he has had many roles including being a Band Master, Company Commander and Unit Commander. As a result, he had met many notable people.
"The most notable person I have met was the Governor General Peter Cosgrove.
"I was standing in line at the McDonalds at Sutton Forrest and realised he was in the same line.
"I had a good chat with him."
While meeting people like Mr Cosgrove was great, the former mathematics teacher at St Patrick's College, (now Trinity Catholic College), was mainly focused on one thing.
"I love working with the students and the cadets are my number one priority," he said.
He taught for 47 years and thoroughly enjoyed his time at the school.
"I enjoyed my teaching career, especially when I helped the students who struggled."
If there is one lesson he wants his students and cadets to gain from him, it's to have a go and never say you can't achieve at what you attempt at life.
"Have a go and prove to yourself you can achieve," he said.
Mr Cockburn is one of 993 recipients of awards in the Order of Australia's general division.
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