Ken Merrifield from Shoalhaven Heads received the Premier’s Community Service Award on Monday.
Only two of the awards are presented each year to people in the Kiama Electorate.
Mr Merrifield received the award in front of his mates at the Shoalhaven Heads Men’s Shed during a surprise visit from Kiama MP Gareth Ward.
“I’m lost for words,” he said.
“This is unbelievable and totally unexpected.”
Mr Merrifield has been an active member of a number of local community organisations and broader Shoalhaven committees and organisations.
He was president of the Shoalhaven Heads Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Shoalhaven Tourism Board, a member of the Shoalhaven Area Consultative Committee and served with numerous other groups. He is currently involved with the Men’s Shed at Shoalhaven Heads.
“To be one of only two to receive this award is pretty special,” he said.
Fellow Men’s Shed member Allan Foster from Shoalhaven Heads, who has known Mr Merrifield for about 10 years, said the right person was chosen for the award.
“He is very passionate about the community. Nothing is ever too much trouble for Ken. He always listens. He’s a top bloke,” he said.
Mr Ward said Mr Merrifield was chosen from the 60,000 people in his electorate.
“This award is a big deal,” he said.
“I get to nominate two people each year and I thought Ken was long overdue for this recognition.
“He has been involved in the promotion of the Shoalhaven for many years.
“When I nominated Ken, the Premier asked me about him.
“I told him what Ken had been doing and he was impressed. He had no hesitation in signing the award,” Mr Ward said.