The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels have been officially recognised at a ceremony in Papua New Guinea, 60 years after they helped Australian diggers during World War II.
Wesley Akove, 86, cared for sick and wounded Australian diggers during the brutal campaign to repel the Japanese advance along the Kokoda Track in 1942.
He is one of 50,000 PNG civilians who worked with Australian troops during the war.
They were paid with rations, clothes and tobacco, but their role was never officially recognised - until now.
Today at a ceremony at the Bomana War Cemetery outside Port Moresby, Australian Veterans' Affairs Minister Alan Griffin presented Mr Akove with a commemorative medallion.
"On behalf of the Australian Government and the Australian people, thank you Wesley," he said.
Mr Akove's brother Benjamin translated for him, saying, "it's very much appreciated and will go down in history with him".
Mr Akove is the first to receive the special medallion but he will not be the last.
After this celebration ends, the real work of expressing Australia's gratitude begins.
Other Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels are being urged to apply for the medals and the Australian High Commission is expected to be inundated with application