Celebrating our heroes

Sally Alden

Often unsung heroes our police officers place their lives on the line in the name of duty; this week over 70 officers from across the Oxley Local Area Command were celebrated, along with everyday heroes from within our community.

In a formal awards ceremony held at the Tamworth Community Centre, Superintendent Clinton Pheeny acknowledged the courage, bravery and dedication of our force and community alike.

“Today we take the opportunity to show our appreciation for the officers who have diligently served our community and to also acknowledge members of our community who have assisted police officers and in some cases saved lives,” he said.

Superintendent Pheeny also spoke on the positive co-operation between police and public.

“The wonderful thing about country communities is that police and the community work together when times are tough, and also through the good times,” he continued.

While the event acknowledged the positive contribution that police and citizens across the command give, Superintendent Pheeny listed drugs as the biggest policing issue.

“Drugs are a huge issue in smaller communities, in particular the drug Ice is making its way into country areas and from it so many other crimes flow.”

When welcoming family, friends, members of local council and parliament who joined the recipients at the police awards, Superintendent Pheeny encouraged the career of service.

“To be an officer of the law is challenging and rewarding all in one.”

First cab off the rank, Quirindi Sergeant Damien Brown was awarded three medals at the ceremony.

“It’s an honour to be awarded, but not the reason I do my job,” said Sergeant Brown who received the National Service Medal and two medals for his over 25 years of service in the Police Force.

Stationed at Quirindi, Sergeant Brown has spent 26 years in the force; commencing his career at Surrey Hills Police station where he served for 8 years before transferring to the Weapons Training Unit for City East for 8 years.

“I then served at City Central for several years before being stationed at Walgett, Tamworth and ultimately Quirindi where I live with my wife Karyn and our four children.”

Sergeant Brown says he enjoys country life, having been in Quirindi for the past 6 years because it’s a lovely area to live and they have good friends and family.

“Policing is an exciting career as its different and challenging and one of those things that you either love or hate and I love it.”

While Quirindi crime rates are reasonably low, Sergeant Brown did list street offences, alcohol related issues and domestic violence as the most common offences.

“If members of the community have any concerns of crimes they should contact their local police and we can assist them.”

Also acknowledged as part of the Oxley Police Awards Ceremony for 2014, members of the community were awarded Certificates of Appreciation for their bravery and courage in assisting police.

Recipients included William Large and Luke Welsh who saved the life of Willow Tree resident Mr Stocks in September. Mr Stocks collapsed unconscious as he was packing up his Karaoke equipment at the Clubhouse in Gunnedah on the evening of September 1 of last year, when both Mr Large and Mr Welsh immediately commenced CPR, called an ambulance and continued to perform CPR for twenty minutes until paramedics arrived.

Given only a 7% chance of survival, the first attempt a defibrillation failed, with the consecutive defibrillation reviving Mr Stocks.

The certificates acknowledge the brave efforts of both citizens stating: “Both Mr Large and Mr Welsh performed lifesaving first aid upon Mr Stocks and this is the sole reason he is alive today.”

“When the police officers said they were going to nominate us, I said we don’t need an award as CPR is something everyone should be able to do,” said Mr Large who at 6 foot 6 is better known as ‘Largie’.

Originally from Central Queensland, now a Gunnedah resident, Largie, who has previously resuscitated two other people, being his Grandmother and a child who had drowned was working at the Central Hotel in Gunnedah at the time of Mr Stocks collapse.

“I wasn’t supposed to be at the Clubhouse that night, I drove past and heard some good music and stopped in for a look. It was just a chance happening that I was there. I recommend people to undertake a first aid course, you never know when you may need it. It may be someone very close to you who needs it.”

Mr Welsh, who now works at the Work at the Royal Hotel in Boggabri had completed a first aid course 8 months prior to assisting in reviving Mr Stocks.

“I deal with a lot working in pubs and clubs, but this was the first time I have ever revived someone. The worst thing you can do is panic, let the people who know what they are doing do their job. Mr Stocks is a lovely guy and I’m glad he is alive as he and his wife are a terrific couple. It’s nice to get an award, but it’s even better to know that both still have one another.”

A jubilant Mr Stocks and his wife attended the awards ceremony.
“I shouldn’t be here, the Doctor said I’m one tough character and to be here today to see Largie and Luke get their awards is momentous,” concluded an enthusiastic Mr Stokes.”

To contact Quirindi Police call 6746 4091.


Photograph by www.sallyaldenphotography.com

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