Father-of-two Shane Hudson humbly accepted a certificate of commendation from Life Saving Australia at a ceremony in Port Melbourne this morning.
Joined by his wife, Tracy, and two children, Hudson appeared emotional as footage from the day was played in front of the emergency services audience.
Among those present were officers and volunteers who were the first on the scene.
“I’m impressed with the first responders involved that I didn’t see that day,” Hudson said.
“It was good to catch up and reiterate how good they are at their job, I have so much respect for them.”
Eleven paramedics, six police officers and six rescuers were commended and the rescue effort epitomized the importance of inter-agency collaboration.
Life Saving Victoria chairman Paul James has spoken of the “heartbreaking day” the life of 45-year-old Aida Hamed was lost in the stormy waters.
The organization thanked Hudson, along with paramedics and police “on behalf of all Victorians”.
Her young daughter-in-law, Kayla, 10, watched proudly.
She had wept and urged Hudson not to risk his life to save the family.
“[Hudson] bravely put his skills in the water to the ultimate test. Without Shane’s actions, it could have been a very different outcome.”
He was calm and thoughtful today and has previously dismissed the ‘hero’ title, insisting he was ‘just doing my part’ and ‘if I had to do it again, I would do it tomorrow’.
The former Australian navy officer helped save three lives in January when four people were swept away by rocks at the remote and treacherous spot on the southern tip of the Mornington Peninsula.
Hudson told Nine’s Lana Murphy that it wasn’t just the fear of drowning that tormented him.
The body of water is known for its great white sharks which follow seals and penguins to Phillip Island.
He feared that the blood in the water would attract them.
He hasn’t heard from the women he saved on the fateful day, but hopes they’re okay.