Rockingham residents honoured in Coastal Bravery Awards

Harry Collins won a Bronze Medallion for Courage - Youth Award.
Harry Collins won a Bronze Medallion for Courage - Youth Award.

ROCKINGHAM residents were recognised in the Coastal Bravery Awards on Friday .

Leon Brouwer, of Singleton, was awarded the Gold Medallion for Exceptional Bravery, while Julie and Alyssa Brouwer received the Silver Medallion for Bravery – Citizens Award.

Harry Collins, of Secret Harbour, receive the Bronze Medallion for Courage – Youth Award.

The awards are Surf Life Saving Western Australia’s (SLSWA) highest recognition for acts of bravery. They have been developed to formally recognise those who display selflessness and bravery, whilst endeavouring to save the life of another, on the WA coast.

The awards are distinguished by the age of the recipient at the time of the act, the capacity in which the recipient was acting (personal, organised or professional) and the degree of selflessness, bravery and courage displayed.

Leon Brouwer

Mr Brouwer was recognised for helping his daughter Laeticia in Esperence after she was attacked by great white shark last year.

Mr Brouwer had been surfing with Laeticia at Kelp Beds surf break when she was attacked.

Without hesitation, and giving no thought as to his own safety, Mr Brouwer swam towards both the shark and his daughter, putting himself in extreme danger in his efforts to save her, bringing her into shore where he was able to start first aid.

Alyssa Brouwer

Alyssa (Laeticia’s sister) was recognised for her actions after witnessing the shark attack from the beach.

Alyssa reacted immediately, flagging down a vehicle that was travelling along the beach for help. She then assisted with the application of a leg rope as a tourniquet on her sister’s amputated leg, before applying pressure with her body weight and towels.

Once further help arrived, Alyssa comforted her younger sister who had also witnessed the attack.

Julie Brouwer

Mrs Brouwer (Laeticia’s mother) also moved to respond, assisting in administering first aid on her daughter while they awaited further help.

Harry Collins

Harry (13) was recognised for coming to the aid of swimmers struggling to stay afloat on Christmas Day.

Having recently completed his Surf Rescue Certificate at Secret Harbour Surf Life Saving Club, Harry was performing a volunteer patrol on Christmas Day 2017 at Secret Harbour.

With a reasonable swell, a deep inshore trough and shallow sand bar, conditions were optimal for the development of strong currents and rips, with various areas on the beach signposted no swimming. With many beachgoers demonstrating minimal experience in the surf, lifesavers were kept busy going to the aid of people in distress.

On more than eight occasions, Harry was called on to go to the aid of swimmers struggling to stay afloat in the strong currents, repeatedly having to jump off his own rescue board to grab a small child or adult in difficulty.

Harry demonstrated extraordinary character and courage and was commended for his actions on that day.