Port Stephens couple Micki and Doug Samuel have received the honour of life membership from the Nelson Bay Touch Association.
The Samuel family - comprising Micki and Doug, three children (one deceased), five grandchildren and three great grandchildren - has been an institution in touch footy in the Bay for more than 35 years.
Despite their long association and continued selfless work, Micki insists there are other committee members more deserving of such an honour.
"We were absolutely shocked," she said. "Even as John Wilton [vice-president] was reading the preamble I had no idea he was referring to us.
"To be honest, both Doug and I have been doing our volunteer work because we are retired and we have the time... of course, we also love it.
"But there are other committee members who put in a lot of time and effort while they work full-time jobs. I believe they are just as deserving."
Association president Ian Doherty described Doug and Micki, from Soldiers Point, as having been exemplary members for the club for more than three decades.
"Doug was a player for more than 20 years and represented the club in a higher lever playing in state cup at Port Macquarie," he said.
"Although Micki has never played for the club, during Doug's playing years Micki supported the association by selling raffle tickets, helping out on fundraising events and assisting in the canteen facilities.
"Micki became a committee member in 2010 and has supported the club on gala days and during tournaments including PWM, all-schools and catholic schools, and through her work in the canteen.
"She will often volunteer her time during weekdays as well as on weekends. Doug has always been by her side assisting with collecting stock, cleaning, and cooking on the barbecue."
Doherty said that the couple would always ensure the toilet facilities were clean, tidy and safe for players and their supporters prior to park touch competitions and tournaments.
"Micki and Doug are always the ones to put their hands up if ever there is a problem at the clubhouse. A few years ago, the club house was broken into. Micki and Doug were on the scene within an hour and stayed to ensure the club house was safe, they liaised with the police, council and insurers," he said.
"The pair are always promoting the club within the local community and encouraging children and their families to become touch members. All of their children and most of their grandchildren played for the club."
He said that life membership nominees must have an outstanding contribution in a variety of areas including playing, administration and general contribution.
"In determining the level of significance, the committee members should consider this in the light of a very high-quality service, which Micki and Doug have demonstrated."
Micki, who has held multiple positions on the committee including vice-treasurer and events coordinator and canteen coordinator, said that the Samuel connection now spanned three generations.
"We love to follow the grandkids and great grandkids in their sport. We have a great love for the game and a great respect for the remarkable people involved in touch football and we want to thank them all for the honour of life membership," the grateful pair added.
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