IT WAS an act that cost his life, but slain Tamworth environmental officer Glen Turner has been posthumously awarded a bravery commendation.
Mr Turner was brutally gunned down in front of his colleague Robert Strange on a remote lane at Croppa Creek, north of Moree in 2014.
On Thursday, those final moments will be recognised with bravery honours for both men in the Australian Bravery Awards.
The desperate attempts to escape by the pair – who were held at gunpoint in a terrifying ordeal that lasted more than 20 minutes – has earned Mr Turner a commendation for brave conduct, and Mr Strange a bravery medal.
While it won’t bring Mr Turner back, his family say it is a fitting honour for the father-of-two.
“Our family is proud and humbled to receive this honour for Glen,” Mr Turner’s partner Alison McKenzie told The Leader in a statement.
We try to focus on the man we knew and loved, rather than the final frightening half hour of his life.Alison McKenzie
“Both victims of that horrific crime deserve to be commended for their bravery.
“We are eternally grateful to Glen’s colleague, Rob Strange, for his own courage on that day and since.
“Glen remains forever in the hearts of those of us who loved him. We try to focus on the man we knew and loved, rather than the final frightening half hour of his life.
“It is a bitter-sweet occasion for us, but we very much appreciate Glen being recognised in this way.”
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The Australian Bravery Decorations Council found Mr Strange – who tried desperately to save his wounded colleague after he had been shot – “displayed considerable bravery” while himself being threatened at gunpoint.
“I was taken aback definitely, I had never considered what I had done that day to be anything different than what anyone would have done, given the circumstances on that day,” Mr Strange told The Leader.
“While I hold it in high-esteem, nothing will change the past.”
Mr Strange said “what was done on that day” will never be forgotten, he said the medal was for the families that have suffered.
“The kids have lost the bloke that went to work that day, and they silently suffer,” he said.
The kids have lost the bloke that went to work that day, and they silently suffer.Robert Strange
“Whilst I am recognised, there are people who have never been identified who have suffered just as much as me, like my children.”
A farmhand alerted Ian Robert Turnbull that Mr Turner was near his family properties, before the life-long farmer drove to Talga Ln, Croppa Creek in the early evening of July 29, 2014.
Turnbull confronted the Office of Environment and Heritage officers, and then shot Mr Turner in the neck.
He then chased him around a car for at least 22 minutes and fired a number of shots before shooting Mr Turner in the back - the shot which proved fatal. Turnbull was arrested shortly after.
Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove bestowed the bravery honours, commending Mr Turner for brave conduct for his efforts to discharge an emergency radio beacon, while under gunfire.
“Sadly, there are those whose brave acts mean they are no longer with us. Today, to their families, I express the nation’s sadness at your loss, but pride in your loved one’s actions,” Sir Cosgrove said.
“We are fortunate as a community to have so many outstanding people willing to put themselves in harm’s way to assist others in need, and it is only fitting that they have today been recognised through the Australian Honours system.”