Dr Harris, an Adelaide anaesthetist, and his friend and retired vet Mr Challen captured worldwide attention for their part in the daring rescue mission which saved a team of 12 young Thai soccer players and their coach from a flooded cave.
“I really want to inspire young people to get outside and explore and have an adventure and build some resilience through doing that,” Dr Harris said.
As reported by Sydney Morning Herald, at the ceremony, the chair of the National Australia Day Council Danielle Roche praised Harris and Challen for their “selflessness, courage and willingness to help others in a time of need”.
“Richard Harris and Craig Challen led a heroic rescue under the spotlight of the world’s media,” she said.
Craig Challen and Richard Harris have been jointly awarded the Australian of the Year award for their efforts in rescuing a soccer team and their coach from a flooded Thai cave in July last year. https://t.co/mqFkUd72tN
— Twitter Moments Australia (@MomentsAU) January 25, 2019