Senior sailor recognised for life saving response

Published on SBLT Bianca Wise (author), ABIS Sarah Ebsworth (photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Headquarters, Sydney

Topic(s): Silver Commendation

Damien Toohey stands with Petty Officer Maryanne Mills after she received a Navy Silver Level Commendation for saving his life. (photo: ABIS Sarah Ebsworth)
Damien Toohey stands with Petty Officer Maryanne Mills after she received a Navy Silver Level Commendation for saving his life.

Petty Officer Maryanne Mills was recently awarded a silver commendation for her quick thinking response, which saved a man’s life last year.

The off-duty Navy medic, was jogging along Balmoral esplanade when she rendered life-saving assistance to a man who suffered a heart attack after swimming.

Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral (RADM) Tim Barrett praised her PO Mills for her fast response when he presented the award at Fleet Headquarters, Garden Island.

“Maryanne’s quick response to the situation, her calmness under pressure and her actions in directing members of the public to assist her resulted in this man's survival,” RADM Barrett said.

“Maryanne demonstrated exceptional coordination and communication skills in a very stressful situation,” RADM Barrett said.

“Additionally, she showed an impressive ability to apply the skills she has learned as a Medical Sailor.

Damien Toohey, the man who PO Mills saved, surprised her by attending the award presentation. He extended his own praise to PO Mills and the Navy more broadly.

“Fortunately for me Maryanne was out exercising that morning and took command of the scene following my cardiac arrest.

“The cardiologists and doctors who treated me have told me what an amazing job she did. She went above and beyond that day; she gave me life and a future with my son,” Mr Toohey said.

“As a civilian, I am in awe of the standards set by the RAN and so perfectly executed by PO Maryanne Mills.”

Maryanne said she was surprised to not only receive the award yesterday, but to do so with Damien in attendance.

“I had a feeling something was going on but I was not quite sure what. It was definitely surprise to see Damien there!

“It was really nice to have him there and be involved, after all, he is the reason I’ve received the award,” PO Mills said.

PO Mills, originally from Hobart, joined the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as a medic in 2001 and now serves as the Maritime Operational Health Course Instructor at the RAN Medical School.

“I regularly exercise down at Balmoral Beach and sometimes when I do I think of what occurred that day and it makes me happy because Damien is happy and enjoying his life to the fullest. That’s what we all should be doing,” PO Mills said.