Pride of Australia nominees Mike Stuart, Gonzalo Herrera, Mitch Bennetts and Bennett Gardiner at their fire station in Drummoyne. Photographer: Adam Yip
Pride of Australia nominees Mike Stuart, Gonzalo Herrera, Mitch Bennetts and Bennett Gardiner at their fire station in Drummoyne. Photographer: Adam Yip

Sydney milk crate heroes recognised for bravery

IT WAS the moment that brought the city to a standstill.

Brandishing a bloodied butcher's knife, a 20-year-old man ran through the streets of the Sydney CBD on August 13 after allegedly murdering one woman and trying to kill ­another.

Amid the danger and the chaos, a group of bystanders came out of nowhere to take the alleged attacker down.

The seven everyday heroes did not hesitate to jump into action, and their bravery was recognised at the NSW Pride of Australia awards yesterday.

Pride of Australia State medal winners Bennett Gardiner, Jamie Ingram, Mitch Bennetts, Jase Shorem, Mike Stuart, John Banford and Gonzalo Herrera. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Pride of Australia State medal winners Bennett Gardiner, Jamie Ingram, Mitch Bennetts, Jase Shorem, Mike Stuart, John Banford and Gonzalo Herrera. Picture: Dylan Robinson

Jase Shore made headlines around the world when he was photographed using a milk crate to stop the man.

"It is a privilege to be getting the award and quite unexpected," Mr Shore said.

"But I feel very appreciative. After the incident, it took time to adjust and come to terms with everything - although it is great to meet people who I may have never met otherwise."

The father of one and former soldier has bonded with Westpac IT manager Jamie ­Ingram, who picked up a cafe chair and thrust it at the ­knifeman.

"There was a whole community there that day and all doing small things, whether they were warning people or helping people find safety," Mr Ingram said. "That's the community standing up and showing you can make a difference when we connect."

 

The alleged knifeman was detained by a number of heroes, including Jase Shore dubbed as “crate man”.
The alleged knifeman was detained by a number of heroes, including Jase Shore dubbed as “crate man”.

Four firefighters from Drummoyne - Gonzalo Herrera, Mitchell Bennetts, Bennett Gardiner and Mike Stuart - were sitting in traffic when they got out of their truck to chase, then detain, the suspect.

"We are honoured and privileged to get the award. All four of us would like to acknowledge and pay respects to the fact a young life was taken away from us that day," Mr Herrera said. "We met (victim Michaela Dunn's) parents and they are suffering. All four of us have 60 years of experience between us and have never confronted a situation like this.

"All of us were just trying to do our best and we are thankful nobody else got hurt."

Mr Gardiner added: "I am very humbled and honoured to be recognised with other brave men and women and also the kids, who are pretty special."

 

Westpac IT worker Jamie Ingram dubbed
Westpac IT worker Jamie Ingram dubbed "chairman" and Jase Shore dubbed "crate man". Picture: Justin Lloyd

His father Ross described the moment he received a message from his son at 2pm, as the situation was unfolding.

"Bennett sent me a text that said 'Dad there has been a ­terror attack in the city we are in pursuit, I will call you back', but it wasn't until another six hours before I got contact with him again," Ross Gardiner said.

"I said 'don't ever do that again' because he messaged the family's group chat.

"What we read after is there were plenty of heroes that day, but uniformed fireys telling people to get off the street helped prevent more injuries."

 

Pride of Australia finalists firefighters Mike Stuart, Gonzalo Herrera, Mitch Bennetts and Bennett Gardiner at their fire station in Drummoyne. Picture: Adam Yip
Pride of Australia finalists firefighters Mike Stuart, Gonzalo Herrera, Mitch Bennetts and Bennett Gardiner at their fire station in Drummoyne. Picture: Adam Yip

Mr Gardiner added: "Two weeks ago (Bennett) was ­driving near Gladesville and stopped at a set of lights around 7am after his shift had ended and noticed smoke coming out from a house.

"He went in and assisted the owners (wearing) his shorts and thongs. Next minute Gonzalo is on his way home and also sees it and pulls up, and the crew that showed up were from their Drummoyne station."

Lawyer John Bamford, who was filmed using a cafe chair to distract and try to contain the CBD attacker, said it was an "unexpected honour" to be recognised for his actions that day. "With all the children receiving an award, it brings to mind around 1986 where it was preached (that) if we tolerate this our children will be next, that's why we have to stand up and stamp this stuff out," Mr Bamford said.

Other NSW finalists were a five-year-old girl who helped save her mother from carbon monoxide poisoning, two teens who pulled an unconscious man from the water, and a singing nurse who brings joy to sick children.



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