Being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) could take some getting used to, according to Lapstone resident Lily Cowen.
"It's a little bit surreal really because you read about the Queen's birthday honours and the Australia Day honours, and you recognise people's name . . . [but] I can't believe that my name is going to be among them now," she said.
Mrs Cowen received the honour for services to the community through a range of charitable, arts and music organisations.
Her extensive list of community ties includes the Zonta Club, Penrith Eisteddfod Society, Penrith Regional Gallery, Nepean Concert Singers, Springwood Music Club and Our Lady of the Way Parish in Emu Plains.
While this list of commitments would make most people feel tired, Mrs Cowen thrives on her community work.
"It energises you when you're doing things," she said.
The Zonta Club's mission of advancing the status of women around the world is particularly close to her heart. She has held a range of positions in Zonta's Nepean club and will recently host the 24th the fund-raising concert at her home for the organisation.
"I'm sure Zonta is something I'll stay active with until the day I die," she said.
Mrs Cowen paid tribute to her husband John for his support of her community endeavours, as well as all the many other people she has worked with.
"Perhaps you need a chief but, gee, you need a lot of Indians too," she said.
"I'm not a solo person by any means. You have to have a group working with you to achieve anything."