Of all the heart-wrenching stories that emerged from the 2011 Queensland flood disaster, the incredible bravery of Jordan Rice is perhaps the one none of us will forget.
Jordan was just 13 years old, and about to start high school, when a deadly flash flood tore through the centre of Toowoomba in January 2011.
Rescuers waded into the raging waters to help Jordan, his 10-year-old brother Blake, and their mother Donna, who were trapped on the roof of the family’s white Mercedes.
“Take my brother first” were Jordan’s final words; moments later, he and Donna were swept to their deaths. With those four words, Jordan saved his little brother’s life – and now his father wants this breathtaking courage to be officially acknowledged.
John Tyson has launched a Change.org petition to have his son posthumously awarded with the Cross of Valour – Australia’s highest civilian honour for bravery.
“Jordan couldn’t swim,” John writes. “He must have been petrified. But he put his fears aside to make sure his brother made it through the terrifying flood.”
During the floods, Jordan’s heroic actions made worldwide headlines. John recalls then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard telling him, “The legend of Jordan’s amazing courage will go on”, and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott recommending he receive the Cross of Valour.
However, three years on nothing has eventuated. John says he declined the offer of a Group Family Citation because he believes his boy deserves a higher honour. “I feel like Jordan’s bravery has been forgotten about and all the talk by politicians were empty gestures.”
So far, John’s campaign has attracted over 115,000 signatures. In a statement to Nine News, a spokesperson from the Prime Minister’s Office said, “The Prime Minister has approached the Governor-General to ask for his support.”
In saving Blake’s life, Jordan exemplified the kind of bravery and self-sacrifice that makes a true hero.
It’s about time he received the official acknowledgement he deserves.
You can sign John’s petition to get Jordan the Cross of Valour here.