The quick actions of two surfers who assisted Margaret River man Alex Travaglini during a shark attack off Gracetown last year have been recognised with WA Community Hero Awards.
The Governor of Western Australia, His Excellency the Honourable Kim Beazley AC presented the awards last week at a recognition ceremony at Government House.
Community Hero Awards are presented to those who have displayed exceptional judgement, bravery and skill to deliver care to someone during a medical emergency.
“Legends” is how Alex Travaglini described the surfers that came to his aid.
Mr Travaglini was surfing with mates at a popular spot in Gracetown when he felt something grab his leg.
Immediately the struggle began as he fought to fend off a frenzied shark who continued to attack while two nearby surfers saw what was happening and went to help.
Matt Percy and Jay Hoskins rushed to help get the injured man to shore.
While dragging him out of the water, they applied tourniquets with their board’s leg ropes, stemming the bleeding.
St John Chief Executive Officer Michelle Fyfe said the award winners had delivered outstanding first aid often in difficult circumstances.
“The efforts of these people have either saved a life or prevented further injury and all are thoroughly deserving of this recognition,” Ms Fyfe said.
Ms Fyfe said St John is committed to making first aid a part of everyone’s life.
“The more people who are trained, the better the health outcomes for the community,” she said.
A panel of prominent West Australians from the media and health arena undertook the difficult task of selecting the Community Hero award winners.
This event is also an opportunity to formally acknowledge the professional achievements of operational staff, congratulate graduating paramedics and welcome new student ambulance officers into St John.
Tributes are also paid to individuals who have served with distinction over a sustained period of time.
“The Recognition ceremony is an incredibly proud day for everyone and I am proud to be here to celebrate all these incredible achievements,” Ms Fyfe said.
Thanks to the selfless, quick thinking actions of Mr Percy and Mr Hoskins, Mr Travaglini survived his ordeal and is now home again with his loved ones.
"I reckon if it wasn’t for the fact that they came to my aid it would’ve been a very different story. I’m lucky to be alive. Thank you guys," he said.