Humble hero honoured
A KYOGLE district retiree who risked his life pulling a badly injured driver from his burning car has been commended for his extraordinary bravery.
Robert Ware, 62, was one of 33 people to receive a Commendation for Brave Conduct in this year’s Australian Bravery Awards, announced today by Governor General Quentin Bryce.
“I would never have thought I could do something like that, but when it happens you don’t even think about it,” Mr Ware said.
About 6pm on December 17, 2008, Mr Ware and his wife Jan, 61, were driving into Kyogle when they came across an unconscious driver trapped in his crashed utility.
“There was a lady already there, but she couldn’t get the ute’s door open and there was smoke coming out from under the bonnet,” Mr Ware recounted.
“I just ran over and grabbed hold of the top of the door and reefed it open.”
As Mr Ware and the woman pulled the driver out, flames started to take hold of the car.
“I was just thinking the ute was going to go up,” he said. “I kept hearing all these bangs and pops from underneath the bonnet.
“Then the burning ute lit the grass too and the whole side of the road was on fire.”
Once the pair had moved the man a safe distance away it was not long until the emergency services arrived and took over.
Mr Ware was saddened to learn later the driver had passed away from his injuries. “His mum called me up from Queensland later on to thank me,” he said.
Mr Ware said he suspected it was her who nominated him for the award.
“It’s nice to be recognised,” he said. “But I don’t feel heroic or anything. I’m just a normal bloke who did what anyone else would.”
Mr Ware, who lives on a property about 20km west of Kyogle, said accidents were a constant fear. “On these narrow, windy roads it’s something you could come across any time,” he said.
Mrs Ware said she was very proud of her husband.
“I was worried because it was a very dangerous situation,” she said.
“I just prayed he would be all right and I’m grateful he was – and also that he was able to do what he did.
“I wouldn’t expect him to do anything else. He actually does a lot of heroic stuff, but very quietly so no one ever finds out.”
A spokeswoman for the Governor-General said Mr Ware would be invited to Government House in Sydney next month to accept his award – a red ribbon – from NSW Governor Marie Bashir.