NEARLY four decades after moving to Penola, John Zwar has been honoured with the title of the town's 2014 citizen of the year.
Since finding out just before Christmas about his award, John has had many people approach to congratulate him - something he's still getting used to.
"Like I've said to a lot of people, I feel very humbled," he told the Herald.
"There's a lot of people who I would have nominated before me, lots of people including my wife, Sue.
"Without my wife's support I wouldn't be anywhere," he said. "They almost need to give a bigger award for Sue as well."
A proud member of the Lions Club of Penola, John has been involved in a lot of community events and projects over the years since moving to Penola in 1976 from Adelaide to take up the role of deputy principal at Penola High School.
He said there was always a link to the SE for him - with Sue's grandparents living at Kalangadoo and his father owning land at Keith which he bought after WWII.
It was these links that made it easy for John and his wife to settle in when they bought land in Penola, where Sue took on the role of farmer while John worked, starting a long relationship between the Zwars and the people of the district.
"I've always had community service in mind I guess," he said. "The community gives me a lot so I put a lot back into the community."
As well as his work with the Lions club, John is also involved with tennis, is the chairman of the Penola Lutheran Church and also works with Meals on Wheels - relishing the chance to get out, meet people and help the community.
"There are so many avenues to be integrated into the community," he said. "Particularly when I was deputy principal, I knew everyone in town, even now I still get to know a lot of people."
Since establishing Camawald Cottage bed and breakfast just over two years ago, getting to know people from all walks of life is not a problem either.
"That's one of the things we both love to do," John said. "We've never regretted it."
John thanked his wife and all the community groups he is involved in for their support over the years, while also paying tribute to his parents for laying the foundations for his morals, belief and community spirit.