Doctor George Merridew's passion for health started by watching his three big brothers in the St John Ambulance cadets when they were in high school.
Since then he has been deployed to terror events around the world, studied anaesthesia, lectured at UTAS, and sat on numerous medical boards.
Today, he becomes a Member of the Order of Australia.
Dr Merridew grew up in Devonport, moved to Hobart to study medicine at UTAS, then received a bonded scholarship with the Australian Air Force in the 1970s, before being deployed.
From Rwanda to East Timor and Iraq and then taking responsibility for direct care of half the patients the air force transported from the first Bali bombing, Dr Merridew has assisted thousands.
His anaesthesia training was completed in Adelaide, then he settled back in Launceston as the Director of Anethesia at the Launceston General Hospital in 2003.
"Yes, I've given a lot of anaesthestics in Launceston," he said.
While shocked to receive one of the nation's highest honours - he has no idea who is behind it - Dr Merridew credits those around him.
"It's not just a reflection on me, but on lots of people, especially my family because they've had to have lots of nights out of bed for me," he said.
"They've tolerated all of that and even encouraged me from time-to-time.
"But it's not just my colleagues and other doctors, but the other staff, nurses, the hospital engineers and the catering staff. In a hospital, it's like a town and everyone is in it together and their work complements everyone else."
Two years ago Dr Merridew called it a day and retired, aged 69 years. He has spent time travelling with his wife, but is also determined not to let his knowledge go to waste.
Dr Merridew now sits on the State Medical Board and the Guardianship Board.
"So I'm able to use my training and knowledge of the system and life, I suppose, that are useful so it's not wasted just by stopping work," he said. "It's all interesting and important work."
Throughout his career, spanning about 40 years, Dr Merridew has witnessed many developments in the industry.
He remembers the excitement as news of the first cat scan filtered in from overseas. But, said the developments were much better now.
"It's better for the patients, and probably better for the doctors in that they don't have to put in the long hours that were the norm," he said.
"But they have to do a lot of organisation and follow up now, and coordinate with other groups in the hospital.
"Medicine is more complicated now because there is a lot more that's worth knowing. There are a lot more tests and sub-specialties and procedures that work.
For example, it is now uncommon to do a procedure that is a waste of time.
"Mostly, the procedures that don't work have been shed," he said.
"The imaging is so much better now. There weren't CT scans anywhere in 1973 and, if there were, they were crude in comparison to what they are now."
Dr Merridew said receiving the award was an honour because someone had to have felt "sufficiently strong" about his career to support his nomination and go through the long process.