SIMON CLEAVER was just 12 and Jack Burke, 14, when they helped rescue Brisbane man Butrose Tourky who was trapped in a sinking car during floods at Bexhill on January 20, 2006.
Mr Cleaver said they had been watching Mr Tourky try to cross the flooded road from his parent's house on a hill and went down to the car when they saw it get pushed sideways off the road by the floodwater.
As the vehicle was sinking, front end first, the boys grabbed hold of a log and attempted to smash the rear window but were unable to break it.
By this stage the water level inside the cabin had reached the neck of the driver who was panicking because the electronic windows were jammed.
>> BACKGROUND: Thank God I'm alive: rescued driver thanks Bexhill boys
Neighbours Dale Batchelor and Robert McInerney saw what was happening and swam to the car to help.
The two men told the driver to press the internal boot release button and they helped the driver to pull down the rear seat.
They told the driver to hold his breath and swim out through the boot, which was three-quarters filled with water, and helped pull him out to safety.
It's been almost a decade since the dramatic rescue and Mr Cleaver said he was surprised to learn he would be one of the four people involved to receive a Group Bravery Citation.
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"It's pretty cool but I don't feel I deserve it," he said.
"I was a 12 year old and I didn't have that much knowledge of the dangers as I do now. And it was pretty dangerous, there was a drain nearby sucking everything down."
Despite being older and more aware of the dangers, Mr Cleaver said he would still respond the same way if a similar incident occurred.
"I got lucky with recognition," he said. "I think that kind of thing would happen every day without getting recognised."
The Group Bravery Citation is awarded for a collective act of bravery by a group of people in extraordinary circumstances.
Applications are considered by the Federal Government's Australian Bravery Decorations Council which announced the awards in April and August.
Recipients are then invited to a ceremony at their state's Government House.