Fatal shark attack hero: 'Nothing will stop me surfing'
ON A sunny summer's day last year Darren Rogers put his personal safety aside, swimming out to aid in the rescue of Tadashi Nakahara, who had just been bitten by a 4.2 metre great white shark.
Mr Rogers, of the Northern Rivers, last week received the Galleghan Award, for the most outstanding act of bravery for the year, in addition to a silver bravery medal.
"It was very humbling to be in a room full of people who had done their best to assist other people," he said of Friday's award ceremony at Government House in Sydney.
"It shows that there is a great deal of courage in people when needed."
Mr Rogers first heard of his nomination for a bravery medal a couple of months ago but "had no idea (he) was going to get the Galleghan Award" until five minutes before the announcement, he said.
His father and two friends, one of whom Mr Rogers met through the Australian Bravery Association, joined him for the celebrations overlooking Sydney Opera House.
"There was a feeling of a common bond between all of us and we were made to feel at home," said Mr Rogers about meeting other award recipients.
"His Excellency spoke to all of outside and was very genuine and pleasant, offering his support," he said.
"Time does not heal this kind of wound.
"It is something that, always to me, seems like it happened yesterday.
"We all hear every day on the news of horrible events; it is part of life and there are all kinds of modern support for trauma."
Mr Rogers said he did not want to talk about the rescue event itself.
"Nothing will stop me surfing in Ballina, it is the most beautiful group of beaches that I've ever lived at," he said.
Mr Rogers said he had been an avid surfer for many years but had entered the ocean only five or six times in the year following his rescue of a man who encountered a shark on February 9 last year.
Tadashi Nakahara, 41, was attacked by a 4.2-metre great white shark at Shelly Beach in Ballina.
Mr Rogers re-entered the water and carried Mr Nakahara's body to the beach.
With the help of another surfer he performed resuscitation while the other rescuers secured their leg ropes around Mr Nakahara's severed legs. Mr Nakahara died in Mr Rogers' arms prior to the arrival of the ambulance.
A total of 26 medals was presented by NSW Governor David Hurley, Patron of the Royal Humane Society, in recognition of those who put their own lives at risk to save someone in immediate danger.