Second bravery award for retired cop
Aug 16, 2022
Tim Brown was supposed to be at home eating a hot dinner on a rainy night in 2020. It was only by chance the decorated retired police officer was instead standing near the Pacific Highway in the NSW Hunter region, when a car slammed into a power pole on the evening of June 9. Mr Brown, who had gone on a last-minute drive with his neighbour to collect a delivery, heard an "almighty crash", saw sparks flying, and ran across the four-lane highway at Heatherbrae to help. As a fire took hold inside the crushed car, Mr Brown made several attempts to rescue the trapped driver, with a focus so intense he ignored the smoke slowly filling his lungs. Staff at a nearby motel gave Mr Brown a knife to cut the unconscious man's seatbelt moments before the car went up in flames. "It was either I get him out, or he was going to die.That was the crux of it and I wasn't going to let him die." Mr Brown told AAP. "I don't know if I could have lived with myself if he burnt. I couldn't have stood that." Mr Brown is the recipient of the prestigious Bar to the Bravery Medal, having also been recognised in 2008 for rescuing a mother and her children from a house fire while on-duty. The 60-year-old is the third person to ever receive the medal. He is among 26 people from around Australia to receive bravery medals, commendations and citations - announced late on Tuesday by the governor-general - for helping others in the face of extreme danger. They include a Queensland woman, who died while saving family members from a house fire in 1960; a WA woman who rescued a woman from a ferocious dog attack; and a Tasmanian man who wrested a rifle from the hands of an offender during a public shooting. Mr Brown played down his two awards, saying he's getting too old for "this fire and rescue business". Having collapsed from smoke inhalation after the rescue, Mr Brown joked his worst injuries came from rose bushes at the crash site. "I'm there in the roses with thongs and shorts on. My legs were cut to pieces - they grow good roses over there," he said, with a belly laugh. The driver's survival is the ultimate reward, he said. "You can't just do nothing to help, because nothing is not an option. "That fellow can live, be part of his family, and go on to bigger and better things."