Australia — HE ran into a bushfire to save his dad’s life, and today Cameron Schulte’s courage will be acknowledged with Australia’s third highest bravery decoration.
Cameron is one of just nine people nationally to be honoured with a bravery award.
He will receive the award in a ceremony at Government House.
Almost two years ago, Cameron saved his father Bernie Schulte from certain death after he became trapped in a bushfire near their Vittoria property.
Cameron, who had escaped the flames, ran back into the raging inferno to find his father.
Speaking before today’s ceremony, Cameron said he felt very humbled to receive the award, but was more thankful “we still have dad”.
On December 7, Bernie and Cameron fought to protect their property from the bushfire, but the conditions changed rapidly and they got caught in the fire front.
Despite zero visibility Cameron made his way out and presumed his dad was behind him, but he wasn’t.
Putting his own safety aside, Cameron ran back into the fire to find his dad.
Cameron said at first the heat was so intense his body wouldn’t let him go through, but then he ran in.
“Initially I didn’t feel a thing,” he said, but it was only a matter of seconds before he thought he was going to keel over and die.
Cameron found his dad horrifically injured, with burns to 80 per cent of his body, but he had the presence of mind to get him to a nearby water trough.
But the horror didn’t end there.
A second fire front came at them and Cameron, despite suffering burns to 38 per cent of his body, managed to move his dad out of danger to another water trough, and then helped him to safety, supporting him for about 300 metres to escape the fire.
Reflecting on his actions that day, Cameron said no one knows how they will react until they are thrown into a situation.
“I was panic stricken but knew things had to be done,” he said.
Cameron’s dad Bernie said on the day of the fire Cameron showed what he was made of.
“He really developed that day,” he said.
“I’m extremely proud of him … if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be talking to you today.”
Bernie said he was still amazed Cameron ran through the fire to get to him.
“The smoke was so thick we couldn’t see each other, but he came back in to get me, he said.
While Cameron still wishes he could have done more, Bernie said there was absolutely nothing more he could have done.