Aaron Giltrow struggled with emotion as he spoke about what it means to him to have his name added to the Gloucester Honour Roll on the side of the clocktower at Gloucester Memorial Park.
He was joined by his family at the Anzac Day service on Sunday April 23, where he first saw his name etched on the list of soldiers who served in Afghanistan.
"I can't describe it. Can't put it into words. It's a piece of history," Aaron said.
In 2012, he spent six months with the Australian Army in the conflict zone and lost three of his mates.
"It's in honour of them," Aaron said with tears in his eyes.
It may be almost a decade since he was there, but it's clear the memories are still raw.
Being a solider is something he wanted to be as a child.
He enlisted as soon as he was old enough to be in combat and spent eight years in the army.
Although he is no longer enlisted, Aaron admits that he still struggles in the aftermath but he said he gets lots of support.
One thing he's most proud of is his involvement with Veterans Mentors - a program designed to assist troubled teens become accountable for their behaviour and decisions.
I can't describe it. Can't put it into words. It's a piece of history.Aaron Giltrow
"It's very therapeutic...for me and for them," Aaron said.
Ensuring returned service personnel are better supported has been a topic of discussion for a long time in Australia, and on April 19, the federal government announced a royal commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.
Aaron's name was among a list of 12 former service personnel with connections to Gloucester added to the honour roll, many of whom are from conflicts after the Vietnam War.
Names added are:
R Heaton, MJ Burley, M Byrne, TA Salter, GT Pearson, RK Tilse, ML Potter, EG Pike, CO Wilkinson, CR Wilson and CM Martin.
The additions came about after the Gloucester RSL Sub-branch put out a call to the community to find any local veterans who should have their names added to the list.
In the past, the sub-branch needed to physically remove the plaques from the clocktower in order to update the lists but as it can now be done in situ, the lists can be updated more frequently.
Also, the guidelines for having a veteran's name added to the Gloucester list have slightly changed.
It used to based on where they enlisted, however, the sub-branch has altered its rules to include those locally connected, like those who grew up here.
According to sub-branch secretary Max Poole the branch is always on the lookout for names to add.
Max said it's a common misconception that only soldiers that died in combat are to be added to the list.
"The requirements are: they have to have served in an operational area, have a Returned from Active Service badge and be chiefly connected to Gloucester," Max explained.
To have a name added to the list, please contact Max via GloucesterSB@rslnsw.org.au.
"The Gloucester RSL Sub-branch and the Gloucester people thank you all for your service to our nation and honour those who are not with us today."
For more information about Veteran Mentors and its program, visit www.veteranmentors.com.au/.