HEROES: Sergeant Paul Andrews and Senior Constable Matthew Shillingford receive a bravery award for their work during the Grantham floods in 2011.
HEROES: Sergeant Paul Andrews and Senior Constable Matthew Shillingford receive a bravery award for their work during the Grantham floods in 2011. Pamela Frost

Grantham flood bravery earns deserved accolade

WHEN two officers from the Ipswich Tactical Crime Squad were called to patrol the Grantham area during the floods in January 2011, they did not expect to find what they did.

Sergeant Paul Andrews and Senior Constable Matthew Shillingford were among those who were first on the scene during the floods and patrolled down Gatton Helidon Rd.

Luckily, they were in a large four-wheel-drive.

"We really didn't have any idea about what we were about to run into," Snr Const Shillingford said.

"We had an idea that part of the town of Grantham had been flooded but I don't think we were expecting to find it the way it was when we arrived."

Sgt Andrews said the road was covered in water and that it was "bedlam".

"Even as we're driving in, there's cars in paddocks with their headlights on," he said.

"We went and checked that out, there was no one in the car."

When they stopped, people emerged out of the darkness in shock.

Snr Const Shillingford, who is now based in Brisbane, and Sgt Andrews each received a bravery award during a ceremony in Brisbane on Thursday.

They received bronze medals from The Royal Humane Society of Australasia.

The night of the floods, the officers worked non-stop until the next day, helping people evacuate.

At one point Snr Const Shillingford and another officer started investigations into three people who had been found dead in a rural fire truck, and had to wade through thick mud to reach them.

Sgt Andrews said it was emotional thinking back to the experience and that he would never forget what they did.

"When we did it at the time, it was probably the proudest I've ever been to be in the police through one of those things that we helped people," Sgt Andrews said.

He also said there were a lot of people who had not been recognised, including community members who assisted during the disaster.



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