More than two years after an ocean rescue claimed the life of a Victorian father-of-three, Shaun Oliver has received a bravery award for his heroic actions in saving two boys at Wollongong City Beach.
Mr Oliver, an off-duty paramedic and a surfer were recognised at a Royal Humane Society awards ceremony on Friday.
Mr Oliver's wife Carla collected the posthumous gold medal.
The fateful events of September 10, 2017 are still "quite raw" for paramedic Andrew Brooker.
"It was great to be recognised amongst some truly brave and heroic people," the bronze meal recipient said.
"For me the ceremony was all about recognising Shaun and his selfless act. Without his actions I have no doubt it would have been me not making it home that day.
"Also I have to mention Thomas (surfer) for being there to finish what Shaun and I had started.
"I had the privilege of inviting Shaun's mother and sister to the ceremony and that was reward enough for me, that they were able to see him awarded in such a way."
A family with four sons was walking along the beach, which was closed due to treacherous conditions, before the boys entered the water and got into trouble.
The father got the two youngest boys out of the water but the two older boys, aged 10 and 12, were pulled out to sea by a rip.
Mr Oliver, a 32-year-old Melbourne resident who was working in the area, did not hesitate to help the two boys.
Mr Brooker left his wife and young child on the sand and also responded to the calls for help.
He swam out for 15 to 20 metres to the 10-year-old boy and brought him into shore before re-entering the water.
By this time Mr Oliver and the 12-year-old had been swept about 50 to 60 metres out.
Mr Brooker caught up with them, grabbed the boy and tried to make his way back to the beach but they were pulled under by the waves and became separated several times.
After he had gained about 20 metres Mr Oliver came to assist.
Mr Brooker handed the boy over to him and started to make his way back to the shore as he was exhausted.
Mr Oliver and the boy then became separated.
A third rescuer, Thomas Parkinson, came to the aid when he paddled his surfboard out into the swell.
He located the boy, put him on his board and got him back to shore.
Mr Parkinson then returned into the breakers to look for Mr Oliver but could not find him.
Three police officers pulled Mr Oliver from the water where paramedics tried in vain to revive him.
The Royal Humane Society has recognised Mr Oliver for displaying "great courage in unhesitatingly trying to save the lives of the two boys until he was overcome by the conditions".