ELLIMINYT’S Arron Graham thought he was facing jury duty when he received a letter from the government.
Instead it was a letter from the Governor-General’s office declaring he would receive an Australian Bravery Medal.
Mr Graham and Irrewarra’s Bruce Hall will receive the honour next month for rushing to the rescue of Beeac man John Ennor after his car crashed into a power pole in July 2009.
The men helped free Mr Ennor from his car minutes before it burst into flames on the Colac-Ballarat Road at Beeac.
Mr Graham said he arrived at the scene after Mr Hall and they worked together to help Mr Ennor.
“I’d been driving along and it was dark and rainy and I saw a flash of light, like a firework, in the distance which turned out to be John’s transformer exploding,” Mr Graham said.
“We ran up to him and he said his foot was stuck, but we finally got his boot off and got him out of there,” he said.
“By the time we’d walked him over to the next power pole, the car had caught on fire and it had lit the power pole and the tree beside it.”
Paramedics rushed Mr Ennor to hospital in a serious condition but he survived.
Mr Graham said the courage of emergency service workers at the accident had inspired him to volunteer as a firefighter.
“The biggest thing I got out of this was a greater respect for the volunteers who put their lives on the line for the entire community,” Mr Graham said.
“So a few months later I joined the CFA because I knew a lady who was the secretary at Irrewarra, and I haven’t looked back.”
Mr Graham said he had remained in contact with Mr Ennor, who later died of an unrelated cause.
“I didn’t know it at the time but I actually knew John’s partner Gloria and I was friends with his step-daughter, and John was very well-known around Beeac because of his volunteer work,” Mr Graham said.
“John took months to recover, but once he was better I used to see him around town and when he came into work he used to call me his lifesaver,” he said.
“It’s the type of thing that we’d all do for each other because we live in a country town and everyone helps each other out.”