Brave Jason a humble hero

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Bravery medal award recipient Jason Shepherd at Middleton Beach.
Camera IconBravery medal award recipient Jason Shepherd at Middleton Beach. Credit: Laurie Benson/Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Albany’s Jason Shepherd did not “think much of it” when he rescued seven people from a rip at Nanarup Beach in February 2017.

On February 18, he set to the dangerous water three times to save the swimmers.

After a brief hug and a thank you, he went on with his life.

This week — more than two years later — he was awarded an Australian Bravery Medal for his courage in saving lives in treacherous conditions that day.

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Shepherd is an Albany Sea Rescue volunteer and a strong swimmer. He was at the beach surfing with his eldest son when he noticed a group of people struggling in the water and swam out to see if they were OK.

“I asked if they were OK but they said ‘No, we can’t get back in’,” he said. “I had three of them hold on to my boogie board and I swam them across the rip instead of back into it and I coached the other two ladies to swim with us and got them to where they could stand.

“One of the girls on the boogie board was really panicking. The rip was very strong and there was no way they were going to get back into shore the way they were swimming.”

Once he got the group of five to shore, he looked around to realise a young boy and a girl were also stuck in the rip.

“I swam out and got one and then swam out and got the other and brought them back to shore,” he said.

Humble when asked how that day could have panned out if he was not there, he said he did not expect to receive any formal recognition for his actions.

“It’s a privilege. It’s not something you do to get an award.”

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