Humble hero saved a man and his child
BRIAN Dell was paddling his surf ski early one morning in July 2010 when he noticed a man and two children fishing off the rocks near Lennox Point.
As he watched, one of the children slipped and fell into the rough, icy water.
The father of the child immediately jumped in after the youngster, but Mr Dell saw both of them were struggling to get back on to the rocks.
The Lennox Head man - who is president of the Lennox Head Alstonville Surf Life Saving Club - was soon putting his surf rescue skills to work.
"The water was cold, very cold, and the waves were big," Mr Dell said.
"But you can't rescue anyone on a ski, so I had to get off and swim over to them.
"I was able to get the kid back on to the rocks, but the dad was too heavy, so I swam him back to my surf ski and got him to hold onto that.
"A nearby fishing boat came over and took the father back to the boat channel."
It is a reflection of Mr Dell's character that he didn't tell anyone about the dramatic rescue - not even his wife, Jane.
"The first anyone heard of it was when the father wrote to the surf club thanking whoever had rescued him and his son," she said.
"He said it was someone with a surf ski; before too long the club figured out it was Brian.
"That's just what he's like."
Mr Dell will be honoured for his heroic efforts today by Governor General Quentin Bryce by being awarded a commendation for brave conduct.
He said it was a "nice surprise which had come out of the blue".
"I am stoked," he said.
"It's nice to be recognised for it.
"But being in the surf club, it's just instinct - it kicks in.
"I am so familiar with the ocean and I absolutely love it."