Shane Hudson, a father of two, humbly received a Certificate of Commendation from Life Saving Australia at a ceremony in Port Melbourne this morning.
Along with his wife, Tracy, and two children, Hudson appeared agitated as footage of the day was played back to emergency services audiences.
Among those present were officers and volunteers who were the first to arrive on the scene.
“I’m in awe of the first responders involved who I didn’t really see that day,” Hudson said.
“It was good to catch up and reiterate how good they are at their job. I have so much respect for them.”
Eleven ambulance crews, six police officers and six rescuers were commended and the rescue effort summed up the importance of agency cooperation.
Life-saving Victoria President Paul James reflected on the “poor day” when 45-year-old Aida Hamed’s life was lost in the tumultuous waters.
The organization thanked Hudson and ambulance and police officers “on behalf of all Victorians”.
His young stepdaughter, Kayla, 10, watched with pride.
She had cried, urging Hudson not to risk his life to save the family.
†[Hudson] brave his skills in the water to the ultimate test. Without Shane’s actions, it could have been a very different outcome.”
He was quiet and thoughtful today and has previously rejected the title “hero”, insisting that he was “just doing my part” and that “if I had to do it again, I would do it tomorrow”.
The ex-Australian naval officer saved three lives in January when four people were washed off rocks in the remote and treacherous site on the southern tip of the Mornington Peninsula.
Hudson told Nine’s Lana Murphy that it wasn’t just the fear of drowning that plagued him.
The waters are notorious for the great white sharks that follow the seals and penguins to Phillip Island.
He was afraid that blood in the water would attract them.
He hasn’t heard from the women he saved on the fateful day, but hopes they’re okay.