Another two members of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service are flying high after being awarded prestigious awards for their devotion to northern NSW communities.
Helicopter crew-members Mark Sewell and Steve Von Bratt have each received the National Medal – an Australia-wide award for uniformed civilians with 15 years work in emergency services.
Their awards come 12 months after another crew-member, Michael Kerry, received the same medal.
All three started as volunteers with the fledgling helicopter rescue service, stuck to their guns, and became full-time employees.

Mark Sewell said working for the rescue service was an exciting challenge – day in, day out.

“It’s an unpredictable job,” he said. “You just don’t know where the helicopter will be going next. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”

Colleague Steve Von Bratt says he and his good mate remain dedicated to saving lives, but it goes further than that.

“This is a service that demands professionalism and precise teamwork,” he said. “It all comes together when a life is saved. It’s indeed a challenge, but it is also enormously rewarding.

“The National Medals are magnificent Christmas presents for both of us.”

A big pat on both their backs came from the helicopter rescue service’s general manager Kris Beavis.

“Steve and Mark have been honoured and they deserve it,” he said. “These dedicated crewmembers have helped make the service what it is today. Can there be any better reward than saving a life?”

PICTURE: Crewmembers Steve Von Bratt (right) and Mark Sewell (left) have been honoured for their dedication to the work of the helicopter rescue service.