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Tuesday 17 August 2021

His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC CVO, Governor of Queensland, has today thanked the 11 Queenslanders named as recipients of Australian Bravery Decorations in the August Bravery List:

BRAVERY MEDAL (BM)

Senior Constable William Robert ATWOOD, Queensland Police

Senior Constable William Atwood displayed considerable bravery during the attempted rescue of a man in Bowen, Queensland on 12 December 2015.

In the early evening, a triple 0 call was received from a man who said that his home unit was full of gas and he was threatening to ignite it.  Senior Constable Atwood, then a Constable, and another officer were despatched to the block of home units. 

On reaching the front door of the man's unit, the officers detected the smell and sound of gas being released from a cylinder inside the unit.  Senior Constable Atwood and his colleague issued verbal commands to the man to turn off the gas and come outside.

With the man refusing to the leave the unit, Senior Constable Atwood forced entry by kicking the front door and the officers entered. Without warning, a large explosion occurred, and Senior Constable Atwood and his colleague were thrown backwards by the force. 

Regaining their feet, and despite their injuries, Senior Constable Atwood's colleague then re-entered the unit telling the man to get out as fire began to take hold.  Due to the heat the officer had to exit the unit. Senior Constable Atwood then re-entered the unit to remove the man, but also had to leave.

Both officers then evacuated the other units in the complex.  The badly injured man emerged from the unit and was taken to hospital for treatment, but sadly, he did not survive his injuries.

Senior Constable Atwood and his colleague were also taken to hospital and treated for second degree burns caused by the explosion.

Sergeant Clint William DREW, Queensland Police

Sergeant Clint Drew displayed considerable bravery during the rescue of people from a burning vehicle on Palm Island, Queensland on 27 December 2017.

At about 6.30am, a vehicle containing three people collided with a power pole and burst into flames. The vehicle had been severely damaged, trapping the occupants inside. Sergeant Drew, then a Senior Constable, and other officers arrived at the scene and approached the burning vehicle.

Sergeant Drew approached the vehicle and, together with another officer, managed to free one of the occupants through the rear window, and remove him to a safe distance. He then called for bystanders who had gathered to source water to help douse the growing flames.

He returned to the vehicle to assist another officer who was trying to remove the two remaining occupants trapped by crumpled vehicle panels. They worked together in an attempt to extricate one of the occupants, but he was unable to be freed from the wreckage. Sergeant Drew and the other officer were then directed to move away from the vehicle as the flames and smoke were intensifying.

Emergency services arrived and extinguished the flames. Sergeant Drew assisted with the removal of the remaining two occupants and all three occupants were taken to the hospital for treatment. Sadly, one of the occupants died at the scene.

Sergeant Drew also proceeded to the hospital where he was treated for smoke inhalation

Mr Michael Francessco FORMICA, Gayndah Qld 4625

Mr Michael Formica displayed considerable bravery during the rescue of people from a burning house in Harristown, Queensland on 10 September 2019.

Mr Michael Formica, an off-duty ambulance officer, was visiting family in Harristown when he noticed a house on fire.  As he approached the residence he heard screaming coming from inside.  He entered through the back door of the house and found a woman inside who was covered in soot and very distressed.  He pulled her outside and she told him that her eight year old daughter was still inside.

He re-entered the house which was full of thick, black smoke and, dropping to his knees, crawled in the direction of the living room but was forced back due to the heat and smoke. Using the torch on his phone he crawled into the house again but was unable to locate anyone.

He exited the house and broke some windows to allow the smoke to ventilate.  He went inside again and checked the living room before making his way to a bedroom.  On hearing a noise he opened a cupboard and located a dog which he took outside to safety.  He entered the house again and heard a noise coming from another bedroom.  He went into the room and located another dog which he also took outside.

Mr Formica noticed the young girl had made her way to the garage and took her to her mother before moving them to safety at the front of the house.  He remained with the woman and young girl until emergency services arrived.  

Senior Constable Dylan Michael MAESTRI, Queensland Police

Senior Constable Dylan Maestri displayed considerable bravery during the rescue of people from a burning vehicle on Palm Island, Queensland on 27 December 2017.

At about 6.30am, a vehicle containing three people collided with a power pole and burst into flames. The vehicle had been severely damaged, trapping the occupants inside. Senior Constable Dylan Maestri, then a Constable, and other officers arrived at the scene and approached the burning vehicle.

Senior Constable Maestri alerted other emergency services and requested their attendance.  He approached the vehicle and, together with another officer, managed to free one of the occupants through the rear window, and remove him to a safe distance.

He noticed another occupant in the front of the vehicle who was unresponsive. He attempted to remove the person but they were trapped by crumpled vehicle panels.

Another officer then joined him and they worked together in an attempt to extricate the other occupant, but he was also unable to be freed from the wreckage. Senior Constable Maestri and the other officer were then directed to move away from the vehicle as the flames and smoke were intensifying.

Emergency services arrived and extinguished the flames. Senior Constable Maestri assisted with the removal of the remaining two occupants and all three occupants were taken to the hospital for treatment. Sadly, one of the occupants died at the scene.

Senior Constable Maestri also proceeded to the hospital where he was treated for smoke inhalation.

Senior Constable Kimberley Jayne MURPHY, Queensland Police

Senior Constable Kimberley Murphy displayed considerable bravery during the attempted rescue of a man in Bowen, Queensland on 12 December 2015.

In the early evening, a triple 0 call was received from a man who said that his home unit was full of gas and he was threatening to ignite it. Senior Constable Murphy, then a Constable, and another officer were despatched to the block of home units.

On reaching the front door of the man's unit, the officers detected the smell and sound of gas being released from a cylinder inside the unit. Senior Constable Murphy and her colleague issued verbal commands to the man to turn off the gas and come outside.

With the man refusing to the leave the unit, Senior Constable Murphy's colleague forced entry and the officers went inside. Without warning, a large explosion occurred, and Senior Constable Murphy and her colleague were thrown backwards by the force.

Regaining their feet, and despite their injuries, Senior Constable Murphy re-entered the unit telling the man to get out as fire began to take hold. Due to the heat, Senior Constable Murphy had to exit the unit. The other officer then re-entered the unit, but also had to leave.

Both officers then evacuated the other units in the complex. The badly injured man emerged from the unit and was taken to hospital for treatment, but sadly, he did not survive his injuries.

Senior Constable Murphy and her colleague were also taken to hospital and treated for second degree burns caused by the explosion. She was later airlifted to Townsville hospital for further treatment.

COMMENDATION FOR BRAVE CONDUCT

Senior Constable Benjamin Dallas BREWSTER, Queensland Police

Senior Constable Benjamin Brewster is commended for brave conduct for his actions during the rescue of a person at Mooloolaba Beach, Queensland on 11 December 2017.

Around midnight, Senior Constable Benjamin Brewster and another officer were on duty when they were notified that a man was threatening to throw himself onto rocks at Mooloolaba Beach. 

When Senior Constable Brewster and his colleague arrived at the beach they used torches to locate the man, who had entered the water and was being swamped by the heavy swell.

Senior Constable Brewster threw his gunbelt to his partner and entered the water, battling the heavy conditions and the darkness.  The distressed man was about 75 metres from the shore when Senior Constable Brewster reached him.  He grabbed hold of the man who put up a struggle.  Both men were submerged several times before Senior Constable Brewster was able to get hold of the man again and swim him back to shore.

On reaching waist deep water, the man broke free and swam back out behind the breaking waves.  Senior Constable Brewster followed him and grabbed the struggling man again and returned him to shore.

Despite being exhausted from the incident, Senior Constable Brewster restrained the man until paramedics arrived and took him to hospital.

Senior Constable Kylie Rae GUNTER, Queensland Police

Senior Constable Kylie Gunter is commended for brave conduct for her actions during an incident with an armed offender in Mackay, Queensland on 30 May 2018.

In the afternoon, Constable Kylie Gunter and two other officers were first on the scene in response to multiple triple 0 calls regarding a gunman in the Central Business District of Mackay.  The offender, armed with multiple rifles, had walked up and down Gregory Street, discharging his weapons on several occasions.  He then leant against a vehicle and pointed the gun towards his head.

Senior Constable Gunter and the other officers surrounded the gunman so as to prevent him from being near members of the public, and drew their service pistols.  They directed him to drop his weapons, but he refused.  Officers began to negotiate with the gunman and, after
20 minutes, police negotiators then spoke to the gunman via phone. 

Despite knowing the offender's weapons were loaded, Senior Constable Gunter and the other officers stood their posts for approximately 50 minutes until the gunman placed his weapons on the ground and surrendered.

Detective Senior Constable Liam James McWHINNEY, Queensland Police

Detective Senior Constable Liam McWhinney is commended for brave conduct for his actions during an incident with an armed offender in Mackay, Queensland on 30 May 2018.

In the afternoon, three police officers were first on the scene in response to multiple triple 0 calls regarding a gunman in the Central Business District of Mackay. The offender, armed with multiple rifles, had walked up and down Gregory Street, discharging his weapons on several occasions. He then leant against a vehicle and pointed the gun towards his head.

Arriving on the scene, Detective Senior Constable Liam McWhinney joined the three other officers and surrounded the gunman so as to prevent him from being near members of the public, and drew his service pistol. The officers directed the offender to drop his weapons, but he refused. Detective Senior Constable McWhinney and another officer began to negotiate with the gunman and, after 20 minutes, police negotiators then spoke to the gunman via phone.

Despite knowing the offender's weapons were loaded, Detective Senior Constable McWhinney and the other officers stood their posts for approximately 50 minutes until the gunman placed his weapons on the ground and surrendered.

Mr Jack Callum MOHR, Marcoola Qld 4564

Mr Jack Mohr is commended for brave conduct for his actions during the rescue of a woman from rough surf at Peregian Beach, Queensland on 18 February 2018.

At about 4.30pm, Mr Jack Mohr, then aged 16 years, and a friend, both off-duty surf lifesavers, were walking along Peregian Beach when they saw a woman struggling in difficult surf conditions about 100 metres from shore.

Another person had entered the water in attempt to reach the woman but the conditions forced him back.

While his friend alerted emergency services, Mr Mohr entered the hazardous surf and swam out to the woman, who was caught in a strong rip.

When he reached the distressed woman, she was having difficulty keeping afloat and was being swamped by large waves.  He grabbed hold of her and provided reassurance and swimming techniques before pulling her diagonally across the rip.  A short time later they reached the safety of the shore where the woman was checked by lifeguards.

Sergeant Tasman Garrick PLACE, Queensland Police

Sergeant Tasman Place is commended for brave conduct for his actions during an incident with an armed offender in Mackay, Queensland on 30 May 2018.

In the afternoon, Sergeant Tasman Place and two other officers were first on the scene in response to multiple triple 0 calls regarding a gunman in the Central Business District of Mackay. The offender, armed with multiple rifles, had walked up and down Gregory Street, discharging his weapons on several occasions. He then leant against a vehicle and pointed the gun towards his head.

Sergeant Place and the other officers surrounded the gunman so as to prevent him from being near members of the public, and drew their service pistols. They directed him to drop his weapons, but he refused. Officers began to negotiate with the gunman and, after 20 minutes, police negotiators then spoke to the gunman via phone.

Despite knowing the offender's weapons were loaded, Sergeant Place and the other officers stood their posts for approximately 50 minutes until the gunman placed his weapons on the ground and surrendered.

Senior Constable Scott Steuart WILSON, Queensland Police

Senior Constable Scott Wilson is commended for brave conduct for his actions during an incident with an armed offender in Mackay, Queensland on 30 May 2018.

In the afternoon, Senior Constable Scott Wilson, then a Constable, and two other officers were first on the scene in response to multiple triple 0 calls regarding a gunman in the Central Business District of Mackay. The offender, armed with multiple rifles, had walked up and down Gregory Street, discharging his weapons on several occasions. He then leant against a vehicle and pointed the gun towards his head.

Senior Constable Wilson and the other officers surrounded the gunman so as to prevent him from being near members of the public, and drew their service pistols. They directed him to drop his weapons, but he refused. Senior Constable Wilson, along with another officer, began to negotiate with the gunman and, after 20 minutes, police negotiators then spoke to the gunman via phone.

Despite knowing the offender's weapons were loaded, Senior Constable Wilson and the other officers stood their posts for approximately 50 minutes until the gunman placed his weapons on the ground and surrendered.