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‘It’s hard to think of a greater sacrifice’: Tributes for heroic Shaun


One of the things that irritates me is the modern use of the word ‘hero’.

It’s been degraded.

It’s been used about sports people, celebrities who do charity work and write platitudes on social media.

They’re not heroes. Shaun Oliver is a hero.

He is the 32-year-old Melbourne man who died on Sunday trying to rescue a child who was drowning in Wollongong on the NSW coast.

The conditions were obviously dangerous but Shaun still attempted to save this child giving up his own life in the process.

It’s hard to think of a greater sacrifice.

Shaun himself had three children and was married to his childhood sweetheart.

Now they’re a family without a father.

The community has stepped in, as it should, and there is a GoFundMe page for his family.

I spoke with Shaun’s sister Amie De Battista.

She described her brother as  “just amazing, an amazing man”.

“Shaun worked hard hours to provide for his family in the future,” she said.

“Our family is extremely appreciative of all the support people are giving us.”

Click PLAY to hear the emotional chat with Amie

Earlier I spoke to one of Shaun’s best mates, Jason Neville.

Click PLAY to hear Jason 

“He was pretty quiet, he wasn’t the class clown or anything like that, but he was a achiever.

“He always put others first … his selfless acts were evident in his commitment to work and his commitment to his family.

“Shaun wouldn’t have even thought about it (before swimming to the rescue). he would’ve seen them and thought ‘They need to be saved’, I’m going to do it.

“No questions asked.”