Barrack Heights resident Terry Prosser has seen kids grow into champion's under his guidance as a canoeing coach.
Mr Prosser, 78, volunteered to coach marathon, ski and sprint canoeing for 40 years with Illawarra Canoe Club.
He has been recognised for his service to canoeing with an Medal of the Order of Australia as part of the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Some of Mr Prosser's students got Olympic medals, others got Australian titles but most just learnt the best technique.
"I enjoy coaching. It has been a pleasure to see the children try the sport and get better," he said.
Mr Prosser started started white water rafting then got into long distance racing but he soon realised he was rowing incorrectly.
"There were no coaches in NSW so I went to Victoria to learn," he said. "Then I became a coach.
"Whoever wants to give the sport a go, I will coach them."
Mr Prosser said he often taught other coaches the proper technique in an effort to prevent shoulder injuries.
He still coaches at Minnamurra.
Mr Prosser was a competitor with the Illawarra Canoe Club in the 1970s and 1980s, has been a life member since 1977 and a coach since the 1970s.
He has also been a past committee member of Paddle NSW.