ROWAN Pollard is an ordinary bloke who was thrown into a nightmare situation – but because of his actions, three young lives are still around to tell to the tale.
On Monday, the Armidale-born man was recognised for his quick thinking at the scene of a car crash near Longford, north of Bendemeer, three years ago.
On October 14, 2014, a Toyota Hilux carrying three teenagers came off the isolate Retreat Road, skidded in the gravel and rolled several times. The driver managed to escape and make the three-and-a-half kilometre trek to Mr Pollard’s property.
“It was about 10.30 at night, back then I use to smoke, and I was outside having a smoke and I could hear ‘Help! Help’,” Mr Pollard said.
“This young fella, who I knew when I saw him, ran up with blood all over him. He raised the alarm. I sprung into action and woke my wife up. She took care of him and called the emergency services. I jumped in my ute and went off down to the crash.
“When I got there, one of the other young fellas was very badly busted up. His shoulder was pretty opened up.
“His cousin, she was the worst off. She was on the ground unconscious. At that time, unbeknown to us, she had a small brain injury.”
Mr Pollard’s first aid “kicked into gear”.
“I’ve always been update with my first aid, but I’ve never really used it apart from bandaging someone’s finger,” Mr Pollard said.
He put towels on the young woman to keep her warm and prevent her from going into shock, and made a brace for her neck.
Mr Pollard held her neck and head still for close to an hour until the ambulance arrived.
She was flown to John Hunter Hospital, where she was treated for bleeding and swelling to the brain along with spine and pelvic fractures, and internal injuries – however made a full recovery.
The male passenger required skin grafts to his shoulder, while the young driver had non-life threatening injuries.
“Luckily she’s as good as gold now – I’m just so glad all three of them are alive to tell the tale,” Mr Pollard said.
It was Mr Pollard’s first time on an aeroplane when he flew to Sydney for the Royal Life Saving NSW Awards ceremony.
It “took a while to sink in”, but he was “very humbled” to received the High Commendation from the NSW Governor.
“At first I wasn’t going to go, but after a bit of thought, I thought ‘well hang on, this is a pretty prestigious award’,” Mr Pollard said.