HEART Support Australia's Ipswich branch paid a rare tribute to one of its most loyal and longest-serving members.
As part of its 15th birthday celebration on Wednesday, November 21, the group, led by president Judy Edyvean, awarded a life membership to Michael Johnson.
Mr Johnson, who was not aware of the award until it was presented to him at the birthday celebration, was moved to tears as he recounted his recovery from severe heart problems, shortly before joining the heart support group 12 years ago.
"I never thought that, when I joined the group in 1999, that I would be staying around this long because at the time I didn't think I would be on the planet for much longer," Mr Johnson said.
Mr Johnson has been a key member of the Ipswich branch over the last 12 years, filling the role of minute-taker and organiser of guest speakers for monthly meetings.
The birthday bash also included live music from Ipswich performer Neil Duddy and official birthday congratulations from patron, Councillor Andrew Antoniolli.
About 50 people from Ipswich, as well as visiting Heart Support members joined in.
Mrs Edyvean said all members of the group were people who had survived heart attacks or serious heart problems.
The group meets on the first Wednesday of every month at the Glebe Rd Uniting Church.