Lake Illawarra Highway Patrol acting sergeant Gareth Neil did what his training told him to do when he came across a fatal traffic crash on the Princes Highway in Yallah last year, administering CPR to an elderly woman before pulling a man from the burning wreckage of a car.
Helped by an off-duty nurse and other civilian bystanders, Sgt Neil tried unsuccessfully to save Joy Borjeson, 84, before paramedics arrived on the scene.
On Friday, Sgt Neil, along with several other Illawarra residents, will travel to Government House in Sydney to receive a Royal Life Saving certificate of commendation for bravery from NSW Governor Marie Bashir.
Sgt Neil said he was humbled to receive the award.
"I feel honoured ... but I was just doing the job I was employed to do. I don't feel like I've done anything different to what any other officer would have done at the time," he said.
The three-car crash happened on June 21, 2012.
Ms Borjeson died at the scene, while two men, including her son, were taken to Wollongong Hospital, both suffering serious injuries.
Sgt Neil was driving through Dapto on duty that day when he heard the incident reported on the police radio.
"I responded under urgent duties to the job, arrived at the scene and requested further assistance," he said.
After administering CPR to Ms Borjeson, Sgt Neil helped civilians pull a man suffering serious leg injuries from a burning vehicle.
"I really wasn't thinking, I was just doing my job, just doing what we've been trained to do," he said.
Other Illawarra residents set to receive a commendation tomorrow include Dillon Ruiz, who pulled a drowning man from the surf at Austinmer in April last year, and paramedics James Moore and Natalie Moore who treated a seriously injured petrol tanker driver after a crash which spilled ethanol and fuel over the Princes Highway near Berry in December last year.
The two paramedics are also in line to receive a NSW Ambulance Service citation for bravery as a result of their actions.
Royal Surf Life Saving said the two paramedics had "proceeded straight to the truck to treat the seriously injured driver without regard for their own personal safety".
"They were aware of the highly volatile situation but realised the driver needed urgent medical attention."
A total of 51 people from across the state will be honoured during Friday's ceremony.