Deaf pioneer Leonie Jackson honored with posthumous bravery award for daring beach rescue

Leonie Jackson was spending a day at the beach with her two children when the unthinkable happened.

Their young son Byron, a confident swimmer, got stuck in a crack in the Congo on the south coast of New South Wales.

Jackson rushed to save him, keeping his head above water even when she couldn’t do it herself.

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The couple were eventually brought ashore by a surfer and while their son survived, the 50-year-old Sydneysider could not be resuscitated.

“Leonie made this decision because of her love for her children,” Alexander Jones, a close friend and father of her children, told AAP through an overseas interpreter.

“She had to do that. There was no other choice.”

The heroic act is recognized by a posthumous medal, one of several awards for bravery announced late Tuesday by Governor General David Hurley.

“It’s heartwarming to know that her actions are being recognized, but I have to say she would have gotten a lot more medals if she had been here,” Jones said.

“There was so much more for her to achieve.”

Leonie Jackson has received a posthumous medal for bravery for saving her young son from a tear. Credit: AAP

Jackson was a pioneer in the deaf community and strived for equality in education for deaf children.

She founded Australia’s first bilingual program for deaf and hearing children and was executive director of the Deaf Society before her death on 17 January 2021.

“Leonie has been selfless her entire life,” Jones said.

“She was such an amazing person. She was creative. She was full of ideas. She was a trailblazer.”

Jackson is survived by her children, Byron, 12, and Tobian, 15.

She is one of 11 Australians to receive a medal for bravery in the final lap of honor.

Twenty-two individuals were awarded commendations for bravery, while six groups received citations for bravery.

The awards, presented each year, recognize those in the community who have put themselves at risk to help others.

“The courage they have shown is matched by their selflessness and they deserve our respect, thanks and appreciation,” Hurley said in a statement.

“For the families of those who are no longer with us, I hope the posthumous recognition of their bravery will bring comfort. Their stories will not be forgotten.”

Kanku the kangaroo takes on the punching bag

Kanku the kangaroo takes on the punching bag Deaf pioneer Leonie Jackson honored with posthumous bravery award for daring beach rescue

James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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