Jordan Lucas Rice should be celebrating the milestone of his 18th birthday this year. Instead, the freckle-faced boy is being honoured with a posthumous bravery award — because when floods ravaged his home state five years ago, he sacrificed his life to save his brother.
To mark the presentation of the bravery award at Queensland’s Government House yesterday afternoon, Jordan’s father has written a beautiful tribute to his brave son.
“It hasn’t been an easy journey. Life takes many turns. This one, for me, was the cruellest,” Jordan’s dad John Tyson writes in the gut-wrenching piece for news.com.au.
Donna, Jordan and John.
Tyson also reflects on the trepidation Jordan must have felt as the waters surged round him. "He was scared of water and the dark and we’d joke that he was a 'sook,'" Tyson writes. "He was quiet, yes. But he was tough. He was the toughest fella I’ll ever meet in my life."
Tyson also describes how Jordan "put his fears aside to make sure his brother made it through the terrifying flood."
As two civilian rescuers approached and moved to save Jordan from the surging waters, Jordan told them: "Take my brother first." The rescuers obliged and swept Jorda's brother Blake to safety. Just moments later, Jordan and his mum Donna Rice were drowned in the floods.
The difficult years following Jordan and Donna's deaths have been filled with reflection on the little boy's strong character, John writes.
"[T]through that devastation, I kept returning to one thought about Jordan. Perhaps I was wrong about him. Perhaps he wasn’t shy: perhaps 'shy' was a label that didn’t really fit someone who took those actions, who said those four words," Tyson describes. "I remember discussing my boys with a friend while watching them play. He asked who I thought the toughest was; I said Jordan. He laughed and fobbed it off. A few weeks later he proved it.