St John Ambulance Community Hero awards: full list of winners from Perth ceremony

Harrison Jory (11-Yanchep) and Noah Lekias (11-Carabooda).
Harrison Jory (11-Yanchep) and Noah Lekias (11-Carabooda).

FIVE West Australians, including 11-year-old Harrison Jory from Yanchep, have been honoured for their extraordinary bravery in helping to save a life.

The honours were announced this afternoon at the annual St John Ambulance Community Hero Awards at Government House.

Harrison’s moment of opportunity came at a birthday party last year, when he was quick to react after his friend Noah collapsed in the swimming pool.

MORE: Read Harrison’s full story of bravery

Noah was known to be prone to seizures and when he noticed something was about to go wrong, all he could do before collapsing was to alert Harrison.

Harrison, a young surf life saving club member, moved quickly to keep the boy’s head above water and yelled out for help before helping drag Noah out of the pool.

The annual St John Ambulance Community Hero Awards highlight the exceptional judgement and skill some people call on in a medical emergency to deliver care to another person.

St John chief executive officer Tony Ahern said each of the award winners had delivered outstanding first aid under extreme pressure.

“These people have demonstrated courage, skill and exceptional judgement in putting the needs of others first and they thoroughly deserve this recognition,” he said.

“Their efforts saved lives or prevented further injury, often in difficult circumstances.”

The awards were presented by WA Governor Kerry Sanderson on Friday afternoon at a formal ceremony at Government House.

Ms Sanderson also presented St John Meritorious Service Awards to two groups of St John employees who had been involved in dramatic rescues in difficult circumstances – one to save a pedestrian hit by a train and the other to help a boy partially buried in a sandy trench.

St John Ambulance has also awarded formal commendations to several other people involved in emergency rescues, including six-year-old Finnley Regler – who saved his younger brother from drowning in their backyard pool.

MORE: Read how Finnley saved his little brother

Mr Ahern said the awards highlighted why St John is committed to making first aid a part of everyone’s life.

“The more people who are trained, the better the health outcomes – it is really that simple,” he said.

Other award winners were:

Craig Lawrence

Craig Lawrence was the first person on the scene of a fiery car crash and he risked his own life to save the young female driver.

Lauren Gilbride’s car had veered off the Forrest Highway, hit a tree and was on fire by the time he arrived to pull her to safety.

“I realised she was alive but couldn’t get out of the car,” he recalled.

By now the front of the car was in flames and he could hear bystanders shouting, “Get away from the car, it’s going to explode.”

“I knew I couldn’t leave her there, so I pulled her out of the car, assessed her injuries, applied first aid, reassured her that everything would be alright and kept her calm until paramedics arrived.”

MORE: Read the full story of Craig’s heroics and his special reunion with the woman he saved

Mitchell Hartwig

Mitchell, who is only 13-years-old, emerged as a hero when his family was involved in a car roll-over while en route to Coral Bay in June last year.

The accident took place along a remote section of highway two hours south of Carnarvon. Rolling four times, the vehicle came to rest on its side 80 metres away from the road, leaving Mitchell’s mother and stepdad both seriously injured, and unable to help their four children.

Mitchell was able to crawl out of the car through a small gap in the roof. After he got out, he pulled his seven-year-old sister Lyla to safety and then worked to retrieve her twin brother Connor.

Their 11-year-old brother Kaden was still trapped inside the car and Mitchell had no way to help him get out, so he comforted him and then focused his energy on helping the twins, Lyla and Connor.

Mitchell said: “I sat them down on the side of the road and worked at calming them down and I was hugging them.”

Volunteer ambulance officer Fay Castling was one of the first emergency services personnel to arrive on scene and she said she noticed Mitchell’s bravery straight away.

“It is difficult to put into words the maturity and responsibility Mitchell displayed with all his siblings as his mother and stepfather were not able to contribute, due to their condition. Mitchell held things together the whole time, taking responsibility for his siblings and providing us with valuable information. Our job would have been so much more difficult without his assistance. Mitch was a great asset to us and it was a privilege to have met him.”

Bronwyn Lyttle and Deanna Ashley

Bronwyn and Deanna emerged as lifesaving heroes after being the first to arrive at a confronting scene of a high speed, head-on crash between a Hyundai Getz and a truck on a country highway.

The driver of the small car, Hannah Harrison, had horrific injuries including a compound fracture of the femur and the ankle, two damaged knees, a broken tibia, pelvis and sternum, cracked ribs, two broken scapulae and a broken collarbone.

They immediately called 000 and hailed a passing truck driver to help open the door of the car so they could help Hannah.

Hannah wasn’t slumped and not breathing until Bronwyn – who fortuitously was also a nurse – tilted her neck back to immediate success.

It took a couple of hours before emergency services were able to free Hannah and during the whole time, the two women worked together to maintain the injured driver’s airway as she drifted in and out of consciousness.

They also stemmed the bleeding from her fractures until the ambulance crew and the RAC Rescue helicopter arrived on scene.

St John Meritorious Service Award – awarded to Joel Moore, Steve Beaton, Darryl Payne, Matthew Greenfield, Chris Gleisinger, Shaun Nicolls, William Hogan, Lisa Richardson and Mark Vowles

When eight-year-old Riley Stiles slid into a 4m deep sandy trench at a property in Jandabup, luck was on his side as his dad appeared on the scene within minutes and leapt into the trench to help prevent any further collapse of sand onto his son.

As well as that fortuitous timing and action from his dad, the work of trained employees was critical to ensuring a safe ending to the near disaster.

Communications officer Lisa Richardson took the triple zero call from Riley’s mother and helped to extract information in order to ensure the best ambulance response was sent to the scene.

St John Ambulance paramedics and Department of Fire and Emergency Service (DFES) career firefighters arrived minutes later to find Riley covered in sand up to his neck. Crews began immediately working to provide protection to ensure more sand didn’t cave in. They were joined by paramedics and fire fighters from the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team who assessed the unstable area before starting to shore up the walls of the trench.

St John Special Operations liaison Joel Moore said the loose dry soil meant any movement around the site could risk further collapse.

“Riley was stuck at the apex of the trench so it acted like a funnel. Any movement just sent more and more sand on top of him. It would have to be the most technically difficult incident I’ve ever had to deal with from a management perspective.”

For the first time, the USAR team was able to use its state of the art extraction equipment on an actual rescue mission.

Paramedics Darryl Payne and Matthew Greenfield were the first St John crew on scene and Darryl made the decision to jump into the trench and assist Riley’s father until DFES arrived.

Special Operations Paramedic Steve Beaton arrived on scene with paramedic Mark Vowles and Steve entered the trench, once it was made safe. He spent a number of hours with Riley, providing him with medical treatment and supporting his father and the USAR fire fighters. Critical care paramedic Chris Gleisinger also assisted Riley for a short period of time in the trench. Clinical support paramedic Shaun Nichols supported the crews with advice and options in case of unexpected clinical changes.

The other paramedics assisted with equipment retrieval and management of the stretcher and the extrication route once out of the hole.

A human chain was formed by St John paramedics, alongside State Emergency Services volunteers and DFES staff to carry Riley out of the trench once he was freed, and the RAC rescue helicopter transported him to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

Riley spent the night in hospital with minor injuries and was well enough to go home the next day.

St John Meritorious Service Award – awarded to Phillip Crute, Lynne Bassett, Natasha Osgood, Cliff Fishlock, Eric Beason and Matt Doyle

When a well-known and popular local man was critically injured while attempting to cross train tracks in the town of Brookton, four volunteer ambulance officers – Phillip Crute, Lynne Bassett, Natasha Osgood and Cliff Fishlock – worked together to help stabilise the patient before he was airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital.

Community paramedic Drew Richardson said he was impressed by their incredible professionalism in such a confronting, complex and potentially dangerous case.

“The volunteers actively looked after each other’s safety during the call-out and worked closely with WA Police, Pingelly SES and the volunteer fire and rescue service, and were supported by the clinical support paramedic Matt Doyle,” he said.

After a difficult extrication of the patient from under the train and managing two traumatic amputations of both an arm and leg, and applying tourniquets to stop the bleeding, the officers then assisted critical care paramedic Eric Beason on the helicopter to Perth.