He spent a lot of his life awarding penalties on a rugby league field but Noel Bissett admits he had a tear in his eye when awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in this year's Queen's Birthday honours.
Bissett has been recognised for his long and ongoing contribution to rugby league but also for his dedicated work with the NSW and ACT fire brigades.
''Both had their tough times,'' Bissett said, laughing.
Bissett remains chairman of the Canberra Region Rugby League and is also president of the Canberra/Monaro - Men of League charity foundation, which raises money for former players in need.
He has five life memberships, including membership of the Australian Rugby League Referees Association, and is one of only six Canberra Raiders life members, along with names such as Don Furner snr and Mal Meninga.
It was as a whistleblower Bissett made his mark, taking charge in 275 group eight matches in the ACT - including 11 grand finals.
In 1982, with the introduction of the Raiders to the NSW Rugby League competition, Bissett also officiated in more than 100 Sydney games.
''I made a lot of friends, a lot of refereeing friends but there was more camaraderie and friendship with the players,'' Bissett said. ''I can still go anywhere and run into somebody I know.''
Bissett maintains a love of rugby league and organises the ''Back to the Game'' service for the elderly.
''We take some older people out to the football. We take them in a bus and put them up in a suite and we give them some refreshments and they have a really good time.
''I'm enjoying it and, if my health stays good, I'll keep on with it. The camaraderie and the friendship, I've met some really great people. I do love the game. It's been my life along with the fire brigade.''
As well as rugby league awards, Bissett has received the Medal of Honour for service to the local community and in 1995 he was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal.
As a young member of NSW Fire Brigades Bissett was transferred from Sydney to Canberra. He said when the ACT Fire Brigade broke free of NSW control in 1976, he wanted to leave Canberra but was glad he stayed.
''[The OAM] makes you realise that you are appreciated and that people have faith in you,'' he said.
- For a full list of the ACT's 2013 Queen's Birthday award winners, click here and follow the prompts.