TEARS of joy and gratitude flowed as a Kergunyah mum watched her daughter being honoured by Victoria’s Health Minister.
Taylah-Jean Hardisty received a Community Hero Award for her calm response to a motorbike crash which left her mother needing 42 screws and 11 plates.
Melinda Hardisty watched with pride as Taylah-Jean, 14, was honoured with the Ambulance Victoria award by minister Jill Hennessy on Thursday.
The grandeur of Melbourne’s Parliament House was a world away from the drama at the Hardisty farm on the afternoon of March 26 this year.
Ms Hardisty had gone to help younger daughter Ahlysa, 6, steer a PeeWee 80 when trouble struck.
Travelling down a slight decline, the bike, with a helmetless Ms Hardisty sitting behind Ahlysa, struck a concrete fence post.
“I knew I was in trouble straight away, I couldn’t see out of one of my eyes,” Ms Hardisty said of the impact of the crash.
“I knew I was bleeding fairly heavily and I called out to Taylah to grab the phone.
“I kept trying to sit up and I got light-headed and I don’t remember much after that.”
Later that night, Ms Hardisty was flown to hospital in Melbourne and days later, after swelling had subsided, she underwent a 4½-hour operation which saw 11 plates and 42 screws inserted into her face.
“I pretty much smashed every bone in my face and had a slight bleed in the back of my brain,” she said.
Ms Hardisty described Taylah-Jean’s cool response as “miraculous” but she was not surprised.
“She is one of those kids that if she sets her mind to do something she’s going to do it to the best of her ability,” Ms Hardisty said.
Taylah-Jean, a year 8 student at Tallangatta Secondary College, was excited to receive her award.
“It means a lot of different things, it’s good knowing I saved mum and to have this award to show off,” Taylah-Jean said.
Wodonga Mars Petcare workers were also Hero Award recipients, recognised for helping Marco Presutti who had a heart attack at the factory in 2015.