Being a member of the Bega Roosters is in the blood for Garry Arkin.
His family has been part of the club since it was formed and his father had been given a life membership.
Now, the current club president can add the same recognition to his achievements, as he recently became a life member as well.
Mr Arkin said it “came as a surprise” when he was given the award at the Roosters’ 30-year reunion weekend at the end of September.
“I got a hell of a shock, I was surprised to say the least!” he said.
“I’m pretty chuffed about it.
“I feel a great amount of pride being part of the Bega club, but I’m just one of many who contributed over the years.
“I’m pretty humbled.”
He played football with the Bega Tigers and reserve grade for Bega before going into administration with the Roosters, working as the treasurer and secretary before becoming president seven years ago.
He started working in administration roles due to the love of the game.
“It’s just great to be part of something to provide sport for the young people coming through,” Mr Arkin said.
The club had changed since he first joined in 1969, he said, including player numbers increasing, a ladies side starting and changes to tackle rules.
“It’s been a bit of a hurdy-gurdy ride,” he said.
“Probably the biggest challenge is using volunteers, volunteers are few and far between across all organisations these days.”
There were about 100 people attending the 30-year reunion which celebrated the period of the ‘80s and ‘90s, with Mr Arkin saying he was very pleased to receive the award in front of the members who he still retained a bond with.
He described the ’80s as the “golden era” for the club, as it won five first grade premierships across the decade. But it was a different time for the game.
“Shoulder charges were prevalent in those days!” he said.