2001-2002 Recipients & Citations

Click on the recipient to view the citation.

1.2. BRONZE MEDALS

Kevin Scott Dunkley, 151 Phillip Drive, South West Rocks,

Steven Smallwood, 3 Hillary Street, South West Rocks

for their actions in the rescue of two persons from the sea near Trial Bay..

On the evening of 5 November 1999, a mayday call was received by the Trial Bay Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol from the occupants of a vessel that had run aground and was sinking fast.

After informing Coffs Harbour Water Police, who were 3-4 hours away from the scene, Mr Dunkley and Mr Smallwood prepared the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol rescue vessel and put to sea. Their vessel was heavily battered by the extremely hazardous weather conditions which were prevailing at the time, but despite this, and with the assistance of some other fishing trawlers, the occupants of the sinking vessel were located and rescued.

3.4. 5. 6. BRONZE MEDALS

Fire Fighter Wade Heath Hupton, N.S.W. Fire Brigades,

Fire Fighter James Thomas Patrech, N.S.W. Fire Brigades,

Ambulance Officer Stephen Bates, N.S.W. Ambulance Service,

Mr David Hodge, 185 Humphries Road, Bonnyrigg

for their actions at the scene of a home unit fire at Cabramatta.

On 14 September 2000 Fire Fighters Hupton and Patrech carried out search and rescue operations at a home unit in Cabramatta. The rescue took place under threat of an armed offender, who had set several spot fires inside the unit block, and had attacked two women with a machete.

Hupton and Patrech were supported by Ambulance Officer Bates and a civilian, David Hodge. Hodge ushered ambulance personnel to the scene, and assisted Fire Fighters with hoses and the evacuation of civilians from the burning building.

Upon being told that children may be inside, Bates and Hodge entered the burning unit, but due to the thickness of the smoke and without any breathing apparatus they were forced to exit.

Hupton and Patrech arrived with full breathing apparatus and were able to enter the unit, which was engulfed in smoke and flames. They located the offender in a bed room, face down on the bed and holding a cigarette lighter. They carried the man, who was severely affected by smoke, outside and placed him on the lawn.

It was subsequently established that the missing children were not inside the burning building.

7.8. CERTIFICATES OF MERIT

Dennis Keith Buck, 164 Barber Street, Gunnedah

Roger Barry Ashford, 134 Bloomfield Street, Gunnedah

for their actions in the rescue of a seriously ill woman from her flooded property near Gunnedah.

On 19 November 2000, during major local area flooding, the Namoi Division SES HQ received a call to rescue a pregnant woman, who was suffering severe abdominal pain and haemorrhaging, and transport her to Gunnedah Hospital.

As no helicopter was available, and local ambulance vehicle support could not negotiate the deep and fast-flowing floodwaters, Mr Buck and Mr Ashford, accompanied by two ambulance officers, set off in a heavy vehicle borrowed from the local Rural Fire Service.

After negotiating the extremely hazardous conditions, which included driving through 1.5 metre deep floodwaters across the roadway for some three kilometres, Mr Buck and Mr Ashford reached the seriously ill woman, and were able to return her safely to the Gunnedah Hospital for treatment.

9.10. 11.12.13. BRONZE MEDALS

Brian Roy Hoffman, Deputy Controller Kyogle SES,
42 Irwin Street, Kyogle,

Phillip Copeland, Team Leader Kyogle SES,
Lot 61 Omagh Road, Kyogle,

Senior Constable Michael Douglas McCormack, N.S.W. Police Service,

Sergeant Robert William James Murray, N.S.W. Police Service,

Ambulance Officer Karen Boyd, 83 Highfield Road, Kyogle

for their actions in the rescue of two persons from floodwaters at Kyogle.

On the afternoon of 1 February 2001, a man and his daughter were trapped in their vehicle when it stalled while attempting to cross a flooded bridge in Kyogle.

Police, Ambulance and State Emergency Services personnel responded to the scene, and Senior Constable McCormack and Mr Hoffman assessed that as the floodwaters were rising and flowing quite rapidly, the only course of rescue was with rope and harness.

Sergeant Murray and Mr Hoffman initially entered the water in harness gear, with Senior Constable McCormack standing in waist deep water feeding out the rope to them. The force of the water, together with an amount of floating debris, was dragging the rope under, so Mr Copeland entered the water in harness gear to assist Senior Constable McCormack in feeding out the rope and holding it clear of the water. Ambulance Officer Boyd also entered the water to assist with the rope.

Murray, Hoffman and Copeland eventually made their way on to the flooded bridge and Hoffman was able to force the driver’s door open. After securing himself against the bridge, Copeland slid his harness along the rope to Hoffman, who attached it to the young girl. Although at one stage being knocked under the water by the force of flow, Hoffman and the girl made their way back along the rope where the girl was taken ashore and treated by ambulance personnel.

The same method of rescue was used to extricate the driver.

14. BRONZE MEDAL

Ambulance Officer Robert A. Hilliar, 263 Irvines Road, Bellawongarah

for the rescue of a woman from the Shoalhaven River at Nowra.

At about 3.00pm on 24 September 2001 Ambulance Officer Hilliar and his partner attended Bridge Road, Nowra, where they found a distressed woman who appeared to be affected by drugs and alcohol. The woman refused treatment and began behaving irrationally.

She walked onto the Nowra Bridge, climbed over the railing and jumped off the side into the water. Hilliar immediately jumped in after her. He managed to keep the woman afloat until a nearby fishing boat came to their assistance.

Hilliar and the woman were then conveyed to the boat ramp where the woman was treated for injuries sustained in the fall.

15. CERTIFICATE OF MERIT

James Beeche, 3/3 Glenfarne Street, Bexley

for his actions during a domestic dispute at Brighton Le Sands

On 12 March 2000 Mr Beeche was walking past a block of units at Brighton Le Sands when he heard a woman’s hysterical cries for help. He forced his way through glass security doors risking serious injury from shattered glass. He then kicked in the front door of the unit in question, and was confronted by a very aggressive man and an extremely frightened woman who was cradling a baby. 

Mr Beeche spoke with the man and calmed him to a point where the woman, the baby and another child were permitted to leave the unit. Mr Beeche then remained with the man, calming and detaining him pending the arrival of police.

16.17. BRONZE MEDALS

Ray Fox, 8/6 Christie Street, Liverpool,
Geoffrey Stephenson, 8/6 Christie Street, Liverpool

for their actions at the scene of a motor vehicle fire at Lansvale.

At about 8.00pm on 27 November 1999 a motor vehicle collided with a power pole and fence on the Hume Highway, Lansvale. Shortly after impact, the vehicle’s engine ignited in flames trapping the unconscious driver.

At the time, Mr Fox and Mr Stephenson were travelling in their vehicle in the opposite direction. Upon sighting the collision they stopped their car and went to assist. They saw that the driver was trapped and there was fire and smoke filling the cabin of the vehicle. Both men climbed into the passenger side of the vehicle and tried to free the man, however he was pinned and the smoke was too thick to see properly.

Stephenson then tried to open the driver’s door, but this proved impossible. Other persons had arrived at the scene at this stage, and one of them assisted Fox in pulling the unconscious man out through the passenger side door.

18. BRONZE MEDAL

Andrew Summerfield

for his actions at the scene of a home unit fire at Tweed Heads.

In the early hours of 5 March 2000, a fire occurred in a home unit in Tweed Heads which was occupied by a woman and three children.

The woman sent her two older children to fetch help from her neighbour. Andrew Summerfield responded, and after alerting the other residents of the block, assisted the woman and children to safety. He had to return to the smoke-filled unit to rescue a further child that had been forgotten by the woman in her panic..

19. CERTIFICATE OF MERIT

Brook Turner, 6/88 Turton Street, Waratah

for the rescue of a youth from the surf at Scotts Head.

On the afternoon of 1 May 2000, Brook Turner was observing the surf at Scotts Head when he was approached by a man who was concerned about a youth caught in a rip beyond the breakers. Turner grabbed his body board and flippers and paddled out to the stranded youth. 

The boy appeared to be very frightened and incapable of making it back to shore. Turner calmed the boy and convinced him to “catch a wave” in with him. He towed the boy on his board for about 100 metres and then got on the back of the boy’s board and paddled toward the beach.

With each large wave the boy fell from the board, however the two eventually made it safely back to shore.

20. BRONZE MEDAL

Colin Anthony Smith, Lot 3 Galway Avenue, Gunnedah

for the rescue of a three year old child from a flooded storm water drain at Gunnedah.

At about 6.00pm on 18 November 2000, a three year old girl fell into a flooded drain on a property in Gunnedah. Mr Smith, who was talking to people on the property at the time, heard the splash as the girl fell, and immediately jumped in to assist the youngster.

Although the girl had been sucked into a narrow pipe, Mr Smith dived below the surface, located the girl and dragged her out and brought her to safety. His quick actions undoubtedly saved the young girl from drowning.

21. SILVER MEDAL & GALLEGHAN AWARD

Probationary Constable Paul Gregory Winston, Lake Illawarra Local Area Command

for the rescue of a man from the surf at South Shellharbour Beach.

On the afternoon of 23 March 2001 police attended South Shellharbour Beach in response to a call concerning a man caught in a rip 200 metres from shore. The man had been in the water for approximately 20 minutes and appeared to be exhausted.


The surf conditions were heavy and dangerous, and the man was drifting further out to sea. Although having no surfing qualifications, Constable Winston volunteered to go to the man’s assistance.

Winston stripped out of his uniform and entered the water. He used the rip to carry him to the man’s location. When he reached the swimmer he could see he was exhausted and gasping for air. He explained how he would help him reach the shore by swimming across the rip and in through the wave zone. The man told him he couldn’t swim anymore, and he was scared about going through the waves. Winston took hold of the man and started to tow him out of the rip.

Once out of the rip they headed for the shore, but were hit by several large waves forcing both of them under the water. Winston surfaced but was pulled under again by the man in his panic. Winston managed to drag the man to the surface, and eventually they both reached the beach where the man was attended to by ambulance personnel.

22. SILVER MEDAL

Andrew James Linwood, 31 Noorong Avenue, Forresters Beach.

23. BRONZE MEDAL

Matthew Lees Small, 16 Poplars Avenue, Bateau Bay

24.25. CERTIFICATES OF MERIT

Desmond Clive Johns, 6 McGee Avenue, Wamberal
Warren Ian Nelson, 9a Stimsons Lane, Tumbi Umbi

for their actions in the rescue of a youth from dangerous surf at Spoon Bay

On the morning of 14 February 1999, two young boys were caught in turbulent surf at Spoon Bay, and a strong rip was carrying them out to sea. Warren Nelson went into the surf to assist but was also washed out in the rip. Other people had witnessed the incident, but they considered the surf too dangerous to enter.

After some time, the two youths were washed towards some rocks, and Andrew Linwood and Matthew Small were able to assist them out of the water. Linwood and Small observed Warren Nelson to be in difficulties and being dragged under by the heavy swell.

When Nelson was washed near to the rocks, Linwood entered the water, swam to the distressed swimmer, who at that stage was unconscious, and started dragging him back to the rocks. 
Once near the rocks, Small also entered the water to assist Linwood.

Desmond Johns assisted in pulling the unconscious swimmer from the water. CPR was commenced on Nelson by Small, Johns and a bystander Bronte Selway. At this stage, another bystander Adam Selway assisted by speaking with the concerned relatives until emergency service personnel arrived.

Warren Nelson was subsequently airlifted to hospital in a critical condition, but eventually made a complete recovery. Andrew Linwood suffered a badly injured leg during his time in the water.

Bronte and Adam Selway received Letters of Commendation for their actions during this incident.

26.27.28. BRONZE MEDALS

Station Officer Wayne Staples, NSW Fire Brigades
Senior Firefighter Gregory Purvis, NSW Fire Brigades
Paramedic Paul John Featherstone, LifeSaver Rescue Helicopter 

for their actions at the scene of an industrial accident at Mascot.

On the morning of 12 January 2001, a crane overbalanced and collapsed on the M5 motorway at Mascot trapping the driver. The crane required heavy lift equipment to avoid it falling off the edge of the bridge, as well as to extricate the trapped driver.

The initial attempt to vertically lift the damaged crane caused lateral movement also, and this seriously jeopardised the safety of the injured driver. Throughout the ordeal, the driver was receiving extensive drug therapy and fluid resuscitation for his injuries.

A further attempt was undertaken to lift the damaged crane. During this action, Station Officer Staples, Senior Firefighter Purvis and Paramedic Featherstone remained on the scene, as any wrong move could cause the amputation of the driver’s crushed leg, and the rescuers would be needed to immediately drag the injured man clear of the wreckage.

Fortunately, the second attempt was successful, and the injured man was taken to hospital.

29. BRONZE MEDAL AND SIR NEVILLE PIXLEY BOOK AWARD

Jayden Thornton (age: 7), 3 Mary Place, Bligh Park

for his actions in the rescue of a three year old child from a flooded stormwater drain at Cronulla
.

On the afternoon of 3 December 2001 a picnic was being held at Gunnamatta Park, Cronulla, when a violent thunderstorm struck the area. As a result, flash flooding occurred and it was estimated that water up to a depth of 4 inches washed through the park towards the bay.

Jayden Thornton was sheltering in a picnic hut with his young brother. When the storm cleared the two boys walked toward the entertainment area that had been set up for the picnic. In their path was a large stormwater pipe, a section of which was cut away. The pipe had originally been covered by a council sign and steel grate, but due to the violent storm, these had been washed away exposing the hole in the pipe. A ditch about one metre deep and filled with water was in front of the hole, and once the pipe was exposed , a vacuum effect caused the water to rush towards the stormwater opening.

The younger boy was swept into the stormwater pipe, and Jayden grabbed hold of his brother’s head as he was being pulled into the pipe. Jayden continued to hold onto his brother, even though he himself was being pulled into the pipe by the forceful water.


Adam Stone and John Bracken, who were in the park for the function, saw what was happening and ran to assist the boys. Stone dived to grab hold of the younger boy who was about 2 feet under the drain. The older boy was holding his brother’s head. Bracken jumped into the hole and grabbed the older boy. Stone had trouble pulling the younger boy out due to the water pressure. The child’s head was under the water. Bracken helped Stone pull the child from the water.

Both children were very distressed and were treated by ambulance officers and conveyed to Sutherland Hospital.

Adam Stone and John Bracken received Letters of Commendation for their actions in this incident

.

30.31 BRONZE MEDALS

Andrew John Gilbert, 1084 Coramba Road, Karangi
Bryan Stanley Weier, 88 Arthur Street, Grafton

for their actions at the scene of a motor vehicle fire near Glenreagh
.

On 13 May 2001 on the Orara Way, Glenreagh (towards Grafton), a motor vehicle collided with a chain link safety fence, continuing at speed before impacting the railing on a bridge. The occupants of the vehicle, a man and woman, were severely injured.

Soon after the accident, Andrew Gilbert came upon the scene and went to the assistance of the occupants. Smoke was billowing from the offside front corner of the engine bay. He went to the front passenger door as the vehicle caught fire, and released the seat belt from the woman passenger. The deployed air bag filled the vehicle with a powdery smoke as the woman was pulled from the burning vehicle.

Bryan Weier had also arrived at the scene and went to the driver’s side, where he had to use a knife to cut the jammed seat belt from the driver’s body. With assistance from another man, Weier dragged the driver from the vehicle to a place of safety about 25 metres away. The interior of the vehicle was by this stage well alight.

Ambulance personnel arrived soon after, but unfortunately the driver was deceased.

32. BRONZE MEDAL

Stephen Blackmore, 41 Toronto Ave, Cromer

for the rescue of an elderly woman from a burning unit at Queenscliff.

At about 7.30pm on 24 June 2001, Stephen Blackmore was walking past a residence in Queenscliff when he noticed smoke billowing from the window of a ground floor unit. He heard moaning noises coming from within the unit, and went to the front entrance to gain access. Before proceeding, he called out to the people in the unit above to contact the Fire Brigade.

Although being an asthma sufferer, Blackmore entered the unit through the front door. Due to the amount of black smoke that had filled the rooms, Blackmore was forced to crawl through the unit calling out to any occupants. He reached the room that was on fire, and saw the figure of an elderly lady with flames leaping from behind her. The woman collapsed at his feet and he struggled to pick her up, but eventually carried her out through the smoke filled rooms.

Once outside, the upstairs neighbours cared for the woman until the ambulance arrived. Blackmore found a garden hose and attempted to douse the fire through the front window. The Fire Brigades arrived shortly after and extinguished the blaze. 

Blackmore was treated for smoke inhalation and asthma at Manly Base Hospital.

The rescued woman suffered from burns to her legs, and died from complications two weeks later.

33.34. BRONZE MEDALS

Ambulance Officer Trevor Maxwell Green, Grafton Ambulance Station
Sergeant David Scott, NSW Police, Grafton Police Station

for their actions in the rescue of the driver of a semi-trailer on fire following a serious accident at Grafton
.

On the morning of 27 July 2001 at Grafton an accident involving a semi-trailer occurred, trapping the driver in his burning cabin.

Ambulance Officer Green and Sergeant Scott attended the scene, but due to the intense heat and twisted wreckage, their initial attempts to extricate the driver failed. There was the added danger of the diesel fuel tanks exploding, as burning debris was falling around these tanks.

Eventually, Green released the driver’s legs and he was able to be lifted clear of the vehicle. Regrettably, he died some days later from his extensive burns and injuries.

35. BRONZE MEDAL

Roger James Bird, 465 Marom Creek Road, Meerschaum Vale.

36. CERTIFICATE OF MERIT

Trevor Voysey, 39 Granada Pde, Alstonville

for the rescue of a man from a burning vehicle at Alstonville
.

On the evening of 29 August 2001, an accident involving two vehicles occurred on Teven Road, Alstonville.

Roger Bird and Trevor Voysey arrived at the scene, and seeing one vehicle on fire, immediately went to free any passengers. They found the driver trapped in his seat belt, and Bird crawled into the burning cabin to attempt to release him. He was able to release the seat belt, and with Voysey’s assistance they then dragged the man to safety.

Noticing the occupants of the other vehicle appeared to be injured, Voysey and Bird attempted to drag their vehicle away from the other burning vehicle. This proved unsuccessful, so they then removed the two injured occupants, and awaited the arrival of emergency services personnel.

37. BRONZE MEDAL

Senior Constable Armen M. Vahanian, NSW Police

for the rescue of a woman from the sea at Avalon.

On the afternoon of 25 November 2001 at Avalon Beach Ocean Pool, a woman was swept from the edge of the pool by a large freak wave, and sucked into the turbulent waters. Attempts by her family to rescue her failed, and other people were reluctant to assist due to the dangerous conditions.

Senior Constable Vahanian was alerted to the incident, and immediately went to the woman’s assistance. He located her, swam to a rock ledge, and with further bystander assistance was able to remove the woman from the water. 

The woman responded to resuscitation, and was subsequently attended to by ambulance personnel.

38.39. CERTIFICATES OF MERIT

Robert Kinneally, 23 Snowgum Drive, Bilambil
John Capps, 3 Snowgum Drive, Bilambil

for their actions during a house fire at Bilambil.

At about 9.30pm on 8 December 2001 a home in Bilambil was totally destroyed by fire. The owner and only occupant at the time had fallen asleep in his lounge room, whilst hot fat had been left cooking in the kitchen.

Neighbours, Robert Kinneally and John Capps, were alerted to the fire and went to the house to investigate. Kinneally arrived first, and knowing the family members included three children, he was concerned for their safety. He entered the house through the rear door and found his neighbour asleep on the lounge chair. The kitchen was well alight and the house was full of swirling smoke.

Kinneally woke the man and asked him about his children, but due to his sleepiness and confusion, no answer was forthcoming. Kinneally began leading the man to the rear exit still asking him about his family, when Capps arrived. He too had entered the burning house through the rear door and was able to confirm the whereabouts of the children and their mother, who were all away at other locations at the time. The three men then left the house, and Capps found a garden house and attempted to extinguish the fire in the kitchen.

40.41. BRONZE MEDALS

Tony Vecerin, 11/33a Garden Street, Belmore
Peter O’Sullivan, 25 Grove Avenue, Narwee

for the rescue of a man from railway tracks at Narwee
.

In the early hours of the morning of 30 April 2000, Mr Vecerin and another man heard a commotion coming from the Narwee Railway Station. They noticed a scuffle occurring on the platform, and on running over to investigate, Mr Vecerin noticed an injured man lying on the railway tracks.

The other man ran over to the local hotel, and alerted Mr O’Sullivan to contact police.

Mr Vecerin went onto the platform, then jumped down onto the railway tracks to help the injured man. Mr O’Sullivan arrived and jumped down onto the tracks to assist. The two men lifted the injured man up onto the platform just before the arrival of a train on those tracks.

Mr Vecerin and Mr O’Sullivan comforted the injured man until the arrival of emergency personnel.

42. BRONZE MEDAL

Constable David C. Witenden, Albury Local Command;

43. CERTIFICATE OF MERIT

Senior Constable Paul G. Cole, J.I.R.T. Albury

for their actions at the scene of a house fire at Lavington, Albury.

On the afternoon of 14 May 2001, Constable Witenden heard a smoke alarm sounding nearby, and on investigation, found his neighbour’s house on fire.

He obtained a fire extinguisher and entered the rear of the house to fight the fire. After confirming there were no people in the lounge room or kitchen, Constable Witenden was able to extinguish the main fire in the kitchen area.

Detective Senior Constable Cole arrived on the scene, and assisted to fight the fire with the use of a garden hose. Senior Constable Cole switched off all power and gas, and although thick black smoke was filling the house, Witenden and Cole proceeded to search the home for occupants until the arrival of the Fire Brigade.

44. BRONZE MEDAL

Anthony Rosevear, 475 Luxford Road, Shalvey

for his actions at the scene of a motor vehicle fire at Shalvey
.

On the afternoon of 6 October 2001, a vehicle crashed into a pole at Shalvey and burst into flames. The driver was thrown out and killed, and a passenger was trapped in the burning vehicle.

Mr Rosevear, who lived nearby, attended the scene, and commenced to fight the fire with a fire extinguisher. Because of the large amounts of toxic smoke, he was unaware of the trapped passenger. Although there were other bystanders, none assisted Mr Rosevear, because of the fear of an explosion.

Once his fire extinguisher was depleted, Mr Rosevear then obtained a garden hose and continued to fight the fire. The black smoke and steam still prevented him noticing the trapped passenger.

Once the flames were extinguished, Mr Rosevear heard moans from the trapped passenger, and appreciating the gravity of the situation, immediately smashed a window to release the poisonous gases that had been generated from the fire. He then continued to cool the passenger’s extreme burns with water, and comfort and reassure him until the arrival of emergency services personnel.

45. BRONZE MEDAL

Amy Dellar, 161 First Ave, Sawtell

for the rescue of two young boys from the surf at Boambee Headland
.

On the afternoon of 17 November 2001, three youths were swimming at the mouth of Boambee Creek, when the two youngest boys got into difficulties and were swept out into the turbulent surf. The oldest boy ran to the beach kiosk to raise the alarm.

Amy Dellar, who was walking her dog on the beach, was alerted to the incident, and immediately went to assist. She swam out through the surf, located the boys’ surf boards, and then located the youngest youth and assisted him onto a board. She paddled him back to shore, and after administering some initial first aid and leaving him in the care of other people, she returned to search for the other youth.

She paddled back out through the surf, located the other boy who was quite fatigued, and directed the Surf Lifesaving Club rescue boat to pick him up.

Both boys were treated by emergency services personnel on the beach, and obviously, Amy Dellar averted what could have been a tragic event

.

46.47. CERTIFICATES OF MERIT

Gregory Charles Cocks, 267 Iodide Street, Broken Hill
Stephen John Beckedahl, 6 Newcombe Street, Maianbar

for their actions in the rescue of a boy from live electrical wires at
Broken Hill.

On the evening of 13 December 2001, Mr Cocks was driving to collect his friend, Mr Beckedahl, when he noticed a youth hanging from electrical wires near his house.

Cocks and Beckedahl noticed the boy was in contact with all three electrical wires, and then ran to find an implement so as to release him.

With the use of a long wooden pole, they released the boy, and then commenced CPR on him until the arrival of emergency services personnel.

Letters of Commendation

During the year, the following awards were also made:

Senior Constable Craig Cheeseman, Coffs Harbour Police Station

Senior Constable Graham Forbes, Coffs Harbour Police Station

Bronte Selway, Emu Heights

Adam Selway, Emu Heights

Adam Stone, Hurstville Grove

John Bracken, Kellyville