An ?exceptional officer? honoured
By EMMA CORNFORD
WHEN Allan Lewis was sent to Banda Aceh to deal with the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami, he was confronted with horrendous conditions.
In charge of the initial army engineering group deployed to the area, Warrant Officer Lewis set up the first fresh water platform, helping to prevent outbreaks of diseases such as cholera.
Because of his work, the former Clarence Valley officer has been awarded a Conspicuous Service Medal as part of the Queen's Birthday honours list.
"I was very honoured to receive the award," he said.
"But when we were first deployed there were 14 guys with me initially and then the medical team arrived, so I guess we had a team of around 22, and I think every single one of them deserves this kind of recognition because they all did a bloody good job over there."
In the commendation, Warrant Officer Lewis was praised as an 'exceptional officer' who did 'outstanding service in the Health/Engineering Element in Banda Aceh while deployed on Operation Sumatra Assist'.
"(He displayed) consistent professional excellence, exemplary leadership and initiative, and outstanding service in an extremely demanding and challenging situation," the commendation read.
"It was a really eye-opening experience being over there. I've been to the Middle East, East Timor ... but never experienced anything on that scale," the 37-year-old said.
"It was just good being able to lend a hand."
His mother, Lawrence resident Heather Lewis, said she was 'very proud' of her son.
"When he told us he said 'cool, eh?'. Oh, we were very proud," she said.
"He did a lot of good work over there. Well, all of them did, and under some conditions that I think were very hard to deal with."
Warrant Officer Lewis, now stationed at Canungra, will be presented with his medal at Government House in Brisbane later in the year.