RADIO personality and former Panthers player and Mark Geyer has been awarded an Australia Day honour — an OAM, Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division.
Geyer, 44, of South Penrith, who received the medal for services to rugby league and his work for charities, is being congratulated by his daughter Rafferti (pictured right).
"It's so overwhelming," he said.
"You never expect these things to happen to you.
"You see it happening to other people, but when it happens to you it's surreal, and a bit embarrassing too."
Geyer played rugby league from 1987 to 2000 for teams including the Penrith Panthers, Balmain Tigers and Western Reds.
He also played in the NSW State of Origin and for the Australian Kangaroos.
Today he is an unqualified Panthers supporter.
"I'm glad that I've stayed in Penrith and raised my kids here," Geyer said.
Twelve years ago his world collapsed when he was told his football career was over.
"I was 32, I had a family and a mortgage, but no idea of what I was going to do," Geyer said. "I'd left school in year 10; I had no other qualifications."
He said that within a month he was working for a clothing company, but feeling he was drifting and going nowhere.
However, he looked to charity work, in particular, helping people with disabilities play sport.
"I found that helping others was what gave me most pleasure," Geyer said.
He has supported charities such as the PCYC, Work Direction, D-Sport, the Yellow Ribbon Foundation and the boxing event, Fight for Life.
In 2011 Geyer also organised the Legends of Origin Charity Match,which raised $455,345 for Queensland flood victims.
He is now a presenter on Triple M's Random Acts of Kindness.
"Sporting careers finish very suddenly, you've got to have a plan B," Geyer said.