The 2022 Australian Bravery Decorations have been announced and they recognize the courageous acts of 26 people who selflessly put themselves in danger to protect the life or property of others.
Announcing the recipients, Governor General David Hurley said, “The awards I am announcing today honor those who, in a time of peril, have been selfless and courageous.
“Faced with danger, they chose to help others,” added the Governor General.
Australian Greek Andrew Pappas received a Group Citation for Bravery this year.
Talk with The Greek Herald, Andrew said: “It’s a real honor to receive a bravery citation and I’m so proud to have been part of a community effort where so many people stood up and acted like we did.”
Andrew, alongside Jeremy McLeod and Ben Russell, received the group award for their actions in rescuing an assaulted woman in Melbourne in 2016.
On April 24, 2016, Andrew was cycling home on the Upfield Bike Path in Brunswick at around 10:30 p.m. when he heard a woman screaming.
The woman, a heavily pregnant 31-year-old nurse, had been thrown off her bicycle by a 21-year-old man and dragged into a small alcove along the path where the man attempted to rape her.
“She was 20 weeks pregnant the night of the incident and she was assaulted,” the father-of-two said.
“There was an innocent person attacked and I wanted to rectify that.”
As Andrew approached, the assailant fled and after checking that the woman was okay, he gave chase.
“I didn’t have time to think about what was going on. I just acted on my instinct which was to go after and make sure the guy wouldn’t get away with what he did,” the 60-year-old said.
Both Jeremy McLeod and Ben Russell heard the woman screaming from inside their neighboring apartment and together with another man ran downstairs where they saw Andrew chasing the attacker.
Joining Andrew, the men chased the assailant, pinning him to the ground and restraining him until police arrived.
Talk with age at the time, Senior Detective Constable Katherine Lavars said the men had done “an amazing job”.
“There is no doubt that without their help, this investigation would have been very different,” she said.
The attacker pleaded guilty to attempted rape, was sentenced to 23 months in prison and received a four-year community correction order.
About six months after the incident, Andrew met the victim and her newborn baby.
“She was very thankful and thankful, but it was really beautiful to see that she was okay and had recovered,” he concluded.