Graeme receives bravery award

Graeme Lawrence of Bald Hills received a bravery award after he was shot twice during police operations in 1977. He now volunteers with guide dogs.
Graeme Lawrence of Bald Hills received a bravery award after he was shot twice during police operations in 1977. He now volunteers with guide dogs. Renee McKeown

BALD Hills resident Graeme Lawrence has received a bravery commendation for a 40-year-old police incident in which he was shot twice.

Mr Lawrence was one of 32 people to receive a Commendation for Brave Conduct as part of the latest Australian Bravery Decorations which recognise acts of bravery in other than warlike situations, by people who put themselves in jeopardy to protect the lives or property of others.

On November 19, 1977 Mr Lawrence (then a Constable with Queensland Police) went to a home in Brighton where there was an armed man.

As Mr Lawrence went towards a colleague he was shot in the leg, fell down and had to use his belt as a tourniquet before sliding along the footpath to seek cover.

Across the road a car slowed and the wounded Constable warned the driver about the gunfire, however the driver exited the vehicle and was also shot.

As Mr Lawrence made his way towards the driver - who got back into his car, collapsed and died at the scene - the Constable was shot again, this time in the left shoulder.

Then the Emergency Squad arrived and had to use tear gas to force the armed man out of the house and arrest him.

Mr Lawrence said the incident happened a long time ago and he did not talk about it much.

"I've still got a number of shotgun pellets in my hip,” he said.

"It's been a long time coming, the only other recognition was from the police service last year.”

Mr Lawrence received a Bravery Award, along with his National Police Service Medal, at a ceremony at Carseldine Police Station in March 2016.

These days Mr Lawrence prefers a much more relaxed lifestyle, after retiring from the police force in 1992 with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

"I'm actively involved in volunteering at the Guide Dogs,” he said.

"We're in extended training for the dogs they use as ambassadors.

"They bring you back to earth, they help a lot with PTSD for me.”

Governor-General Peter Cosgrove approved the awards for the Australian Bravery Decorations and thanked recipients, including Mr Lawrence, for their efforts.

"We are fortunate as a community to have so many outstanding people willing to put themselves in harm's way to assist others in need, and it is only fitting that they have been recognised through the Australian Honours system,” he said.

"On behalf of all Australians, I thank them for their bravery.

"They are a source of courage, support and inspiration, and we are a stronger, safer and more caring nation because of them.”

Topics:  armed man bald hills bravery award brighton guide dogs queensland ptsd shooting volunteer

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