Eddie Whitham just collected his 87th nationality.
The lay preacher, friendly neighbour and master of a good Australian welcome has made it his life’s mission to make strangers feel at home.
One of nine siblings, Eddie was born in Wangaratta, Victoria in 1943.
It was the classic love story, his father met his Polish-Jewish mother while he served in war.
His mother was the earliest war bride to come to Australia from the Middle East in 1942.
"They were taken from the Middle East and brought to Australia, my mother was one of eight women who came on a boat that held 1900 prisoners of war," Eddie said.
"Mum got off the boat and went to the farm where my father had a little house, it had no floor - just dirt and it rained for two days when she got there, the water was that deep.
"But my mother always helped people, she always had the door open to people and looked after them and I think that's what you do."
Eddie grew up in Victoria and went back and forth to Israel when his parents moved there in the mid-1990s.
His first trip to Tamworth was while travelling with his carpet cleaning business, but it wasn't until he met and married his wife Barbara in 1968 that the couple decided to make the move permanent.
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A decade later the Indo-China Wars started to wrap up and displaced families were flown into Laos, Cambodia, everywhere.
People just needed to get out.
With no money to move them, Eddie and his family put their hand up to take four families into the community.
That's where his role as the town's unofficial welcome party began.
"We just got a group of people together from the local churches and service clubs and said we'd take four families," Eddie said.
"They've grown families from that point in time."
A lay preacher, Eddie travels the countryside to hold services for churches that need a stand-in.
He knows how to talk to people.
Funerals, birthday's, Bar Mitzvah's and Diwali are all part and parcel of his role with Multicultural Tamworth, a community-run organisation with no real structure that suits Eddie "just fine".
"We're not a bureaucratic structure, we fight the bureaucrats all the way down the line," he said.
"We speak for groups who can't speak for themselves and we've actually created a unique group."
So unique in fact, that Eddie has just been recognised for his enduring and diligent work in the community.
He won the Premier's Multicultural NSW Waratah Award for strong leadership in community harmony.
One of the only recipients this year who did not come from an established, traditional organisation.
But, Multicultural Tamworth has come to be a respected source of information and help for the international community.
Eddie might have left school at 15, but he's picked up a large part of his education through life experience.
"We’ve really become a part of the town, we are trusted, we go into the hospital to help," he said.
"We had a death recently, a 31-year-old Indian man died and we helped the family and helped with the funeral."
Tamworth Regional Council gave Eddie an office in the library, but he hardly ever needs it as he deals with people where they are.
Suddenly we had a situation where 150 people needed to learn English.Eddie Whitham
The people Eddie helps can easily fall through the cracks, there are refugees, stateless people, those on Safe Haven visas - all of them need to be supported.
A memory that sticks out in Eddie's career is the devastating fire that destroyed the Murray Bridge Thomas Foods in South Australia.
The blaze ripped through one of the country's biggest abattoirs and left its 1400 employees displaced.
A lot of those people, mostly Vietnamese, moved to Tamworth to start again.
And Eddie was here with open arms.
"Suddenly we had a situation where 150 people needed to learn English," he said.
"The system isn't geared for that, so we had to work a way through it.
"I talked with schools, TAFE colleges, anything to find a way through that.
"Imagine you arrived in Belgium tomorrow morning with no language, no idea how to contact police, buy food, get children to school - we have a network and when the phone rings we connect them."
Eddie doesn't just help with the basics, he celebrates the highs, shares culture and manages expectations.
There's a number of people on high-skilled visas that have been nominated by the government to come to Australia, when they get here the work they get isn't always what they were after.
"Those people are told, 'You're here now so make your own way'," Eddie said.
"You'll have someone out at Biada chopping meat although he's a civil engineer, they will take whatever job they have.
"Some have three jobs, these people are here to work hard and achieve their permanent residence."
Eddie's faith plays a big role in who he is and his drive to help others, but he enjoys sharing in the beliefs of the numerous cultures that have settled in Tamworth.
"We’ve had every human trait that can happen, we’ve had suicide, murder, untimely death, deaths of families visiting, weddings, funerals, christening and birthday parties - whatever you name we’ve been a part of.
"To come out of the bush and be given the Waratah Award, that's pretty amazing."
Eddie was recognised as Tamworth's Citizen of the Year in 2014, he's transformed the old South Tamworth Uniting Church into a space where everyone is welcome.