Sussex Inlet man Fred Baxter, aged 84, was among a group of volunteers thanked by Mission Australia this National Families Week.
Mr Baxter is one of the founding members of the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren group, which supports 44 families from Shellharbour to Ulladulla.
Mr Baxter and his wife, who has sadly passed away, joined the group more than 20 years ago, when they became carers for their grandson.
"As we thought we were winding down and entering retirement, we took on the responsibility of going through the parenting process again with our beloved grandson," Mr Baxter said.
"We didn't know where to go to get help, and found that friends didn't know how to connect with us in this different life situation.
"We joined the program and started meeting with a small group of families going through a similar situation."
Although Mr Baxter's grandson is now a young adult, he has remained part of the group to support others.
"We have good times together - there are sometimes tears, but it's good to share life with each other because we are all in the same boat," he said.
The group has had to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions and now members connect online, over the phone and through care pack deliveries.
Mission Australia's Regional Leader Brett Fahey said for many carers 2020 has been a year filled with challenges.
"All of the grandparents involved in our program are incredibly dedicated to raising the grandchildren in their care, and continue to persevere with love as new challenges are thrown at them," he said.
"This National Family's Week we think it is important to celebrate the grandparent carers here on the South Coast, and all they do for their families."
Mr Baxter said the support of the group during a difficult time had been invaluable.
"The Mission Australia team have really looked out for me recently after the loss of my wife of 58 years," he said.
"When the fires were on, some of the staff helped me get things together, they knew that I was still grieving, and they cleaned the gutters, I am so thankful for that.
"Really, at this time and over the years, without the Mission Australia team and all the people at Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, I would have been lost."