A Real Hero Who Really Flies

IMG_2007I met a genuine, real life, legit hero this week.

He’s the guy who flies in when others are flying out. He’s the guy who winches people off cliffs or boats. He’s the guy who lands his copter on highways or beaches or on top of hospitals and makes bad situations a little better.

And if all that wasn’t enough to ensure he scores well with the ladies, he’s also got a kickass beard.

Brendon met us at the RACQ CareFlight hanger in Maroochydore to show us the very machine which carried Tracey from Nambour Hospital to Royal Brisbane Womens Hospital when things went south during the operation to save her life. There is no doubt in my mind she would have died without this service.

But I’m jumping ahead of myself. First we had to get there…

“Dad!” yelled Miss8 from the very back of our car – that’s the third row back. “Did you see that sign? You have to do 80.”

Master10, who was riding shotgun in the front, gave me an I got your back sort of nod.

“Dad knows what he’s doing,” he called back at her.

“No, he doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Miss8 called forward. Then she reminded him, “Remember he nearly set the house on fire!”

Talk about a long memory – that was about four years ago!

The pan fat caught fire on the stove and I did that really stupid thing where I put it under the tap and tried to put it out with water, meaning I had to regrow some body hair. Tracey swept in and smothered the flames in a towel and saved the day.

“Where would we be without Mum, eh?” I said in the car, trying to laugh it off.

“Crispy?” suggested Master10.

Needing emergency medical help can be as simple as that: having a brain fart and forgetting the absolute worst way to put out an oil fire.

Or it might be because you got distracted at an intersection and ran a light.

Or your heart might decided to go on strike for a few moments.

Or, as in the case of Tracey, the best people to give you a chance of survival are in the hospital over an hour down the highway.

Where we live, we can hear the CareFlight helicopter coming in and taking off from our local Gympie Hospital, so we know more than most how often its services are called upon to help someone. What we never really thought about was how one day a member of our family would need to use it.

The difference being taken by air in a crisis makes to a patient is palpable. It’s real. In some cases it can be counted in terms of subsequent years with family and friends.

And the cost of the service isn’t cheap. I got an invoice last week for $8637.50 – not that they expect me to pay. The accompanying letter was quite clear it was only if there was a legitimate means of claiming it through insurance of some sort.

Because this is, at the end of the day, a free service to the people who use it. RACQ and the government throw a bucketload of money at them, but that barely covers half their expenses. They rely on the public for the rest.

It was interesting to hear the CareFlight service recently acquired five sets of night vision goggles so they could do more night work. At $15,000 a set, it’s a big expense and without the public putting their hand in their pocket they wouldn’t have them.

So I guess I should put in here, if you would like to do something wonderful please consider donating to CareFlight who got Tracey where she needed to be quickly and safely. Or Christmas is coming, why not consider a CareFlight bear as a gift? This is a service we need to ensure continues because it saves live, keeping mummies around for their kids and hapless husbands.

The only little kid of mine who wasn’t talking a million miles an hour about our adventure later that afternoon was the one who didn’t come with us to see this magnificent machine and his helicopter – Miss12. It’s her final year in primary school and there’s a lot going on in these final weeks.

Naturally, the others didn’t try to make her feel jealous about missing out at all.

“We got to get in the helicopter,” Miss8 told Miss12 when we picked her up from school.

“Yeah?” said Miss12 in a noncommittal sort of way. She wasn’t about to be out-cooled by an eight year old.

Mind you, the eight year old wasn’t about to be out-cooled either, even if she had to lean heavily on her family’s motto – don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.

“Yeah, well we got to go for a fly in it,” said Miss8, upping the ante.

“On a mission,” said Master10, joining in.

“We saved a woman,” continued Miss8.

“She was caught on a cliff,” said Master10.

“And then she had a baby!” added Miss5.

“I know you’re all lying,” chuckled Miss12.

Of course they are. They’re just kids.

But I’ve no doubt at all Brendon has stories like that and they’re totally, 100% legit. He strikes me as the type of high flying, beard-enhanced hero-type who doesn’t need to make up that sort of thing. It’s all just another day on the job.

This is Brendon: helicopter pilot, saves lives AND a kickass beard. If this guy isn’t exhausted from all the sex he’s having there’s no chance for the rest of us blokes.


Probably already planning to get his helicopter licence and grow facial hair.


Peering into the belly of the beast with their CareFlight Bears while I tell them how their Mum was lying on the stretcher there with a doctor and a paramedic keeping her safe.


Who says only Tracey can take nice arty photos. This is the actual helicopter which took care of my girl.


Looking at this photo you can almost hear me saying, “Don’t touch. Don’t touch anything.” Seriously, though, you wouldn’t think there was enough space inside this thing to work miracles.


Thumbs up from Team Devereaux.
Thumbs up from Team Devereaux. What a ride.

this is not a sponsored post – I just love these guys

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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”


  • Our daughter was flown to Brisbane 24 years ago by these angels. She was eight at the time. After many weeks in hospital and a few months of rehab she was fine. We were able to take her to see the helicopter, pilot and dr who took care of her during the flight. Incredible is just not enough to describe what these people do. Our girl is now married and a mother thanks to the many wonderful doctors, paramedics, pilots and brilliant nurses who took such good care of her. Bruce, I know just how you feel. I still say a prayer each time I hear a chopper overhead!

  • Without them I wouldn’t have my two youngest kidlets, so I too reckon they’re pretty cool Bruce! You never know when you’re going to need them!!???

  • It truly is fantastic that you can now be a spokesperson for this worthy cause. Rather than just taking it for granted you are appreciating what they did and now giving back. Well done Bruce

  • They truly are a fantastic service! My little sister would definitely not be here (22 years later) if it wasn’t for the amazing CareFlight Staff who came in the middle of the night and moved her to the bigger hospital. I’m so glad that they were there for you, too!!

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