When Gordon Druitt found out he was going to be awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), he couldn't believe what he was reading.
"I was absolutely shocked. I thought somebody must be scamming me," he laughed.
Once the realisation has set in that it wasn't a trick, Mr Druitt's shock was replaced by immense pride.
"I am just extremely honoured," he said. "I know everybody says that, but it really is true and it is a great honour."
The Griffith resident has been awarded the medal in recognition of his service to the rice growing industry and to the community.
It honours commitment he has put in to his work since the 1960s, when he first became a rice grower in Coleambally.
It was a gig which spiralled into becoming the vice-president of the Ricegrowers Association of Australia Coleambally Branch, director of SunRice Australia, and the deputy chairman of the Rice Marketing Board.
But for Mr Druitt, growing rice was always so much more than just a job.
"I've always thought the rice industry is a shining example of how an agriculture industry should run ... I love the industry, and I'm very proud of it and the people in it."
"I chased irrigation water from when I was 16 to when I was 70 ... there was never enough daylight hours, it was just too good."
"I've been known to ask many a restaurant where they buy their rice, to make sure they're buying SunRice," he laughed.
As well as his work within the rice industry, Mr Druitt has spent much of his life volunteering, dedicating hundreds of hours to helping out the MIA community.
He has been involved in and even headed countless local groups, including the Griffith and Coleambally Lions Clubs, the Griffith Apex Club, and the Griffith Historical Car Club.
His dedication and desire to help those around him cemented his place as an esteemed member of the community in both Coleambally and Griffith, something which he has witnessed the importance of first-hand.
"We got burnt out, lost our home in 1987 from a fire," he said.
"But the local community in a situation like that is just amazing. Within 6 hours of losing our house we had 3 caravans there from people helping."
On receiving the OAM, Mr Druitt said he could not have done it without the help of those around him, particularly his wife Denise Druitt, who passed away from motor neurone disease in 2009.
"I must pay special tribute to my wife Denise. We were married almost 50 years before she passed away. She was a great community worker, and a terrific support for me," he said.