2007-2008 Recipients & Citations

Click on the recipient to view the citation.


Brendan O’Connor, Menai


Anthony McGee, St Marys

for their actions at the scene of a motor vehicle accident and fire at Kirrawee, NSW 2232

On 4 January 2005 a motor vehicle collided with a power pole on the Princes Highway Kirrawee resulting in the vehicle erupting into flames and the driver being trapped in the wreckage. A tanker driver, Mr McGee and a motorist, Mr O’Connor, went to the assistance of the trapped driver. Mr McGee used the load of rusty hydrant water (1500 litres) he was carrying to set up a hose and used the water to extinguish flames coming from the crashed vehicle.

Mr O’Connor, along with two other men, climbed into the wreck to try and pull the driver free. This was not possible due to the driver’s legs being caught under the dashboard. Police officers arrived and continued to extinguish flames on the vehicle using the tanker hose and fire extinguishers.

Meanwhile Mr O’Connor obtained a breathing mask from a nearby business and placed it over the driver’s mouth in a bid to help him avoid breathing in smoke and fumes until he was released.


Michael Brett Johnston, Kiama


Natasha Fay King-Gee, Kiama

for their efforts in the rescue of two women from the surf at Bombo Beach, Kiama, NSW 2533

Driving home along a coastal road at Kiama at about 12.50pm on 5 February 2005 Mr Johnston noticed a large rip at the southern end of Bombo Beach. A person on a surfboard appeared to be caught in the rip and another person was swimming out. Uneasy about the situation after reaching home Mr Johnston then ran 600 metres to the beach.

Two female swimmers were caught in the rip. The women were about 100 metres from shore when Mr Johnston entered the water. Both women were on the surfboard, however one was much weaker than the other. Mr Johnston tried to help them to paddle in a southerly direction but the current kept pulling them back. Eventually he paddled north where they reached the sandbar and the lifeguards arrived in a rescue boat and took the women on board. He then paddled the surfboard into shore and checked on the two women who were being treated by ambulance officers.

Ms King-Gee initially went to the aid of her friend, who had been in the water for about 40 minutes, when she noticed she was distressed. She swam about 100-150 metres and found her friend to be exhausted and continually slipping off the surfboard. Ms King-Gee held onto her friend for about 10 minutes before Mr Johnston came to their rescue.


Firefighter Justin Paul Taylor, NSW Fire Brigades

for his actions during a motor boat fire on Lake Conjola, NSW 2539

At about 1.00 pm on 1 January 2005 Mr Taylor and his family were on board his motor boat on Lake Conjola. The vessel had an inboard motor petrol engine that had just been refuelled. On board the vessel were five adults and four children. After travelling along the lake a short distance the motor stalled. While attempting to re-start the engine an explosion occurred setting fire to Mr Taylor’s left arm. All persons were wearing life jackets and the adults threw the children overboard before jumping overboard themselves. However one boy was missed and still on board obscured by the dense smoke. Mr Taylor climbed back on board and rescued the child.

Once ashore and despite being severely burnt, Mr Taylor assisted with the treatment of the other members of his family until two ambulance units arrived from Ulladulla.

The children were airlifted to Westmead Children’s Hospital whilst the adults were airlifted to Concord Hospital. The fibreglass vessel was burnt below the waterline.


Michael Leslie McLaughlin, Gilgandra


Bevan John Whiteman, Gilgandra

Rowan Whelan, Gilgandra

for their actions at the scene of a house fire at Gilgandra, NSW 2827

On the night of 25 March 2005 a woman set fire to the bedroom of her home in Gilgandra with the intention of committing suicide. Michael McLaughlin, Geoffrey Rutherford and Bevan Whiteman, all neighbours of the woman, rushed to the scene of the fire. Initially Mr McLaughlin used a fire extinguisher while Mr Rutherford used a garden hose aimed through the bedroom window.

However neither proved successful as the fire had taken a strong hold in the bedroom. Mr McLaughlin attempted to gain entry by kicking in the front door. When this proved impossible he forced open a sliding door in another part of the house but after entering a short distance in the building he was forced to exit due to the smoke and heat. Returning to the front door Mr McLaughlin used a torch to smash a pane of glass allowing access to the door lock. Although receiving severe lacerations to his arm and bleeding quite profusely he re-entered the house and called out to the occupant before being once again forced to retreat.

Mr Whiteman and Mr Whelan assisted Mr McLaughlin in gaining entry via the front door and turning off the gas supply. Both Mr Whiteman and Mr Whelan entered the house briefly but were forced back by the heat and smoke. When the NSW Fire Brigades arrived soon after and took control of the situation the woman was found to be deceased in the bedroom.

Mr Geoffrey Rutherford has received the Society’s Letter of Commendation for his actions during this incident.


John Robert Ryan, Houston USA


Vanessa Cleary, Camden

Stephen Paul Jadric, Camden


Inspector Matthew Gerard Appleton, NSW Police Force

Snr Constable Mark Andrew Scambary, NSW Police Force

Snr Constable Andrew Phillip Pocock, NSW Police Force

Probationary Constable Renee Shauna Smith, NSW Police Force

for their actions at the scene of a light aircraft crash and fire at Camden, NSW 2570

Shortly after 9.30am on 7 February 2003 a twin engine aircraft crashed into a paddock near Camden airport and burst into flames. The pilot in control of the aircraft Mr John Ryan, although seriously injured, managed to extract the pilot in command of the aircraft, Mr Leslie Morris, out of the burning aircraft.

Ms Cleary and Mr Jadric from a nearby property went to the flaming wreckage and assisted Mr Ryan to remove the critically injured, still burning, Mr Morris from immediate danger.

The first police on the scene were Inspector Appleton and Probationary Constable Smith, shortly followed by Senior Constables Scambary and Pocock. They were faced with an imminent threat of an unexploded fuel tank in an accident scene almost ringed by fire.

Inspector Appleton and Senior Constable Scambary carried the critically burnt Mr Morris to the police vehicle that Senior Constable Pocock had driven as close as possible to the crash site. After extinguishing flames on Mr Morris’s body they drove him to hospital where he died the next day.

Probationary Constable Smith assisted the seriously injured Mr Ryan from the scene of the accident until the ambulance service arrived. Mr Ryan was discharged from Royal North Shore Hospital after treatment for a number of skin graft operations.


Stephen James McDonald , Tara QLD


Paul Atkinson, Calala

Trevor Ian Armstrong, North Mackay QLD

for their actions at the scene of a multiple motor vehicle accident and fire on the Newell Highway at Gil Gil Creek near Moree, NSW 2400

At about 4 pm on 6 May 2005 a fully laden B-Double heavy vehicle collided into the rear of three vehicles that had stopped at roadwork traffic signals on the Newell Highway north of Moree. The impact of the crash left an unconscious pregnant woman trapped in one of the vehicles. In another crashed vehicle Mr Brian Stallworthy managed to drag his wife from the wreckage.

Arriving at the scene in his truck, Mr McDonald organised the rescue of the trapped, unconscious pregnant woman. Using Mr Scott Barnes, a council vehicle driver, to spray the vehicle with his fire extinguisher, Mr McDonald hooked up a metal chain to the council vehicle enabling the jammed door to be wrenched open. While Mr Barnes continued to use the fire extinguisher, Mr McDonald, Mr Lyndon Dunn and Mr Armstrong were then able to remove the unconscious woman from the wreckage before the arrival of the ambulance service.

Prior to the extraction of the unconscious woman the driver of one of the vehicles, Mr Armstrong, helped by another motorist, Mr Atkinson, rescued two small children from the rear of the burning vehicle.

Although remaining unconscious for a further two weeks, the woman’s six weeks premature healthy baby was delivered by caesarean operation later at the hospital.

Mr Lyndon Dunn, Mr Robert Beattie, Mr Scott Barnes and Mr Brian Stallworthy received Letters of Commendation for their actions during this incident.


Andrew Robert Gordon, Port Macquarie

Michael Matthew Geoffries, Hervey Bay, QLD


Timothy Pickworth, Blue Haven

for their actions during the attempted rescue of a surf board rider at Port Macquarie, NSW 2444

At about 3 pm on 19 April 2005 near the mouth of the Hastings River, Port Macquarie, the leg rope of a surfer became entangled in the rocks trapping him in the strong currents and rough seas. The first rescue attempt was by Mr Pickworth but he was beaten back by the strong currents.

Mr Geoffries, who had run to the beach, took over Mr Pickworth’s surfboard and also attempted unsuccessfully to reach the distressed man. Lifeguard Mr Gordon on a rescue board undertook the third rescue attempt but again the strong currents thwarted his effort.

At this point the now unconscious man was dislodged and washed down the river. For a short time Mr Gordon was able to reach and hold the unconscious man but again the rough seas drove them apart.

A nearby fishing boat approached and with the assistance of Mr Geoffries the man was taken aboard. After realising no-one aboard the fishing vessel could administer CPR Mr Geoffries swam back to the boat and worked for about 10 minutes on the unconscious man until they reached ambulance personnel at the boat ramp. Unfortunately the man did not survive.


Ambulance Officer Ian Brenton, Ambulance Service of NSW

for his actions disarming and controlling a violent patient at Rosebery, NSW 2018

Responding to backup ambulance officers attending an agitated hypoglycaemic elderly male at Rosebery on 2 March 2005 Ambulance Officer Brenton observed the man pick up a kitchen knife. Officer Brenton successfully disarmed the man but in doing so was punched in the head resulting in swelling to his face and ear. The elderly male was eventually subdued and medication administered.

23. 24. 25. 26. BRONZE MEDALS

Alex Jimenez, Hoxton Park

Senior Constable Wayne Robinson, NSW Police Force

Constable Nikolas Kokotovich, NSW Police Force

Constable Amanda Holloway, NSW Police Force

for their actions at the scene of a house fire at Bossley Park, NSW 2176

Arriving at a house fire at Bossley Park at about 11.55pm on 21 April 2005 Senior Constable Robinson, Constable Kokotovich and Constable Holloway were advised a 14 year old boy was inside.

In a separate response Mr Jimenez had arrived at the fire where he was told about the trapped boy. Gaining access to the house by smashing a window, Mr Jimenez eventually located the unconscious boy under a bed. Senior Constable Robinson had also managed to enter the burning building. Meeting up with Mr Jimenez they then carried the boy to a window of the building.

In a concurrent action Constables Kokotovich and Holloway had also entered the burning house searching for the boy. Constables Kokotovich and Holloway assisted Senior Constable Robinson and Mr Jimenez to remove the boy from the burning building to safety.


Sergeant Brett George Boyd, NSW Police Force

Constable Jamie Lee McPherson, NSW Police Force

Patrick O’Connor, Ballina

for their actions in the rescue of a man from the surf at Shelley Beach, Ballina, NSW 2478

On 3 July 2005 at about 3.40pm a man entered the sea at Shelley Beach, Ballina, with the intention of committing suicide. Arriving at the beach Sergeant Boyd and Constable Jamie McPherson, after discarding equipment and boots entered the water accompanied by an IRB crewmember Mr O’Connor. Following a struggle in the water Sergeant Boyd, Constable McPherson and Mr O’Connor managed to restrain the man and bring him ashore.


Elwin Lawrence Riley, Mudgee

for his actions at the scene of a caravan fire at Burrendong Dam, Mudgee, NSW 2850

At about 7.30pm on 13 September 2005 a caravan at Cudegong River Caravan Park, Mudgee, caught on fire severely burning the occupant. Mr Riley, a resident of the park went to the scene and despite the flames and heat managed to drag the man from the burning van. Another resident, Mr Shane Morris then arrived at the fire and assisted Mr Riley to drag the man onto a lawn.

While Mr Riley drove off to raise the alarm another site resident, Mr Shane Amidy, fearing a possible gas explosion assisted Mr Morris to move the injured man further away from the burning caravan. Mr Amidy then tried to extinguish the flames on the man’s body using wet blankets until the arrival of the ambulance.

Mr Shane Morris and Mr Shane Amidy received Letters of Commendation for their actions during this incident.

31. 32. 33. BRONZE MEDALS

Constable John Robert Smith, NSW Police Force

Senior Firefighter Jason Warner, NSW Fire Brigades

Senior Firefighter Scott Habgood, NSW Fire Brigades

for their actions during a house fire at Dubbo, NSW 2830

At about 7.40pm on 15 December 2004 emergency services were called to a house fire at Dubbo where 3 children were trapped inside. Constable Smith entered the building on two occasions but due to smoke and heat was unable to locate the children. Senior Firefighters Warner and Habgood entered the burning building through the front of the house and conducted a search using a thermal imaging camera. Senior Firefighters Warner and Habgood had to progress through the lounge room full of furniture all alight, and negotiate through the collapsed air conditioning ducting with a tangle of red hot wire. After searching the entire house they located and removed the children from the building where colleagues immediately commenced CPR.

Prior to the arrival of emergency services Mr Vincent Walford, Mr Eric Dixon and Mr Richard Cubby had broken down a deadlocked laundry door of the burning house and released a woman trapped inside.

Messrs Walford, Dixon and Cubby received Letters of Commendation for their actions.


Retained Firefighter Damian Nugent, NSW Fire Brigades

Retained Firefighter Glenn Pattie, NSW Fire Brigades

for their actions in the rescue of a 15 year old boy who was trapped in a collapsed sand hole at Tura Beach, NSW 2548

On the morning of 18 September 2005 a group of youths dug a large hole approximately 3 metres deep and 3 metres wide in the sand at Tura Beach. The trench collapsed and a boy was trapped up to his waist. Emergency service officers and members of the public attempted without success to free the trapped boy. In a worsening situation caused by a huge storm ambulance officers had breathing apparatus on the boy’s face fearing he could be buried alive.

Retained Firefighters Nugent and Pattie were face down in the hole removing sand from the boy’s feet with partial collapses of sand occurring as each attempt was made to pull the boy free.

Despite the danger of eminent collapse the firefighters remained at their task until the boy was finally rescued nearly two hours after the initial sand collapse.


Filia Lafo, Lurnea

for the rescue of his younger brother from a garage fire in the backyard of their home at Lurnea, NSW 2170

On 30 September 2005 a young boy, aged 2 years old became trapped in a garage fire at about 9.30am at his home in Lurnea. His elder brother Filia Lafo, 13 years old, ran from the house and despite the flames went into the burning garage and rescued the toddler. During the rescue Filia received superficial burns.

At the time of the rescue Filia’s 16 year old sister was in her bedroom doing homework unaware of the garage fire and his mother was not at home.


Craig Meaney, Bonnyrigg Heights

38. 39. 40. BRONZE MEDALS

Senior Constable Alan James Grant, NSW Police Force

Michael Chillemi, Townsville

Trent West, Berwick

for their actions in the rescue of persons trapped in a crashed motor vehicle on fire at Telegraph Point, NSW 2441

A serious head on collision between two cars occurred on the Wilson River Bridge at Telegraph Point on 5 January 2005. The first car containing the driver, a woman passenger and three children immediately caught fire in the engine bay. In the second car the driver and his passenger were trapped, this vehicle then caught fire.

Four motorists at the scene of the accident, Mr Meaney, Senior Constable Grant (not on duty at that time), Mr Chillemi and Mr West went to the assistance of the victims .

In the first car Senior Constable Grant pulled the three children to safety. Mr Meaney went to the assistance of the trapped and badly injured woman until she was eventually freed and moved away from the vehicle. Meanwhile Mr Chillemi continually used fire extinguishers and liquid drinks on the fire to extinguish the flames. In the second car Mr West went to the assistance of the lady driver and with the help of some people removed her to a place of safety.

At the scene of the first car the driver remained trapped and injured with Senior Constable Grant shielding him from the flames while Mr Meaney, despite the flames and smoke cut the seat belt and got the injured driver onto the car door window ledge. With the fire getting fiercer and onlookers yelling for everyone to stand clear Mr Meaney stayed and his desperate calls for assistance encouraged Messrs West, Grant and Chillemi to finally pull the driver free minutes before the whole car burst into flames.


Nicholas Graham Day, Broken Hill

Susanne Avril Caskey, Broken Hill

Nicholas Peter Mannion, Broken Hill

for their actions at the scene of a helicopter crash and fire near Broken Hill, NSW 2880.

At about 6.50pm on 6 October 2005 a 2 seater helicopter crashed in darkness about 200 metres west of Calindary Homestead approximately 270 km north east of Broken Hill. On impact the helicopter disintegrated and burst into flames however both the pilot and passenger had been thrown clear of the wreckage of the accident.

Mr Day and Ms Caskey immediately drove to the scene of the accident. Mr Mannion contacted Emergency Services from the homestead before gathering pillows and blankets and making his way to the crash site.

At the burning helicopter, pistol ammunition and other objects of the aircraft were exploding and the surrounding bush was alight. Ms Caskey located the injured passenger and stayed with him.

Mr Mannion searched for the pilot and eventually found him entangled in the bush and very seriously injured. Mr Day returned to the homestead and using a front end loader cleared the site for access by emergency vehicles.

Despite all the assistance rendered the pilot died at the scene and the passenger later removed by the Royal Flying Doctor Service lost his right leg below the knee.


Leading Senior Constable Phillip John Mounce-Stephens,

NSW Police Force

Firefighter Jason Leo, NSW Fire Brigades

for their actions in the rescue of two persons from floodwaters at Broken Hill, NSW 2880

At about 9.30pm on 6 November 2005 flash flooding at Broken Hill left 2 people trapped inside their sedan vehicle in a fast moving torrent in a storm water channel.

After securing a line Senior Constable Mounce-Stephens and Firefighter Leo entered the swiftly flowing waters. Another firefighter stayed at a midway point between the car and the waters edge while Senior Constable Mounce-Stephens and Firefighter Leo successfully removed the occupants one-by-one to safety.

Almost immediately after the rescue the vehicle was swept away and had its roof crushed after colliding with a steel footbridge.


Senior Constable Matthew James U’Brien, NSW Police Force

Special Casualty Access Team(SCAT)
Paramedic Paul Kernick, Ambulance Service of NSW

for their actions in the rescue of a man from a cliff face at Mt Wilson, NSW 2786

At about 7am on 3 September 2005 a base jumper at Mount Wilson suffered an accident stranding him injured about 120 metres below the cliff face and about 130 metres above the cliff base. With the majority of the cliff face exposed rock, access to the injured man was extremely difficult.

The rescue helicopter was unable to perform a direct winch access. Due to this problem Senior Constable U’Brien and Paramedic Kernick had to abseil down to the injured man with medical and access equipment.

Paramedic Kernick treated the injuries and placed the man in a spinal immobilisation splint. In a most difficult manoeuvre, after several attempts, Senior Constable U’Brien was able to assist the hovering helicopter crew to get a line and winch hook to Paramedic Kernick and the injured man.

Despite considerable rotor wash, with the line controlled by Senior Constable U’Brien at the cliff face, both the injured man and Paramedic Kernick were winched to the helicopter and proceeded to Nepean Hospital, but not before Paramedic Kernick experienced difficulty entering the helicopter due to his position in the harness and the small door on the rescue helicopter.

Senior Constable U’Brien abseiled to the base of the cliff with the rescue equipment and was retrieved from the scene at 4.30pm that day.


Senior Constable Michael James Moy, NSW Police Force

Retained Firefighter Alexander Singh, NSW Fire Brigades

Ambulance Officer James Alexander Thompson, Ambulance Service of NSW

for their actions at the scene of a fire and explosion at a building in Tamworth, NSW 2340

As a result of an explosion in a café in Tamworth at about 10pm on 14 November 2005, an elderly woman in a neighbouring property was trapped beneath a large portion of a collapsed wall.

Despite the nearby restraint fire , and the proximity of a large number of gas cylinders, Senior Constable Moy, Retained Firefighter Singh and Ambulance Officer Thompson worked together to effect a successful evacuation of the badly injured woman.