Two Maitland police officers who went “above and beyond the call of duty” were recognised for their empathetic actions this week.
Senior Constables Jenna Stedman and Steve Drane recently aided an elderly couple navigating tremendous loss.
Ilona Griggs’ husband of 52 years, Daniel, was receiving treatment at the Calvary Mater Hospital in Newcastle for stage 4 brain cancer when she received a call to say that he had just half an hour to live.
Unfortunately, Mrs Griggs does not drive and, in desperation, she phoned Maitland Police Station to ask for assistance.
Within minutes, Senior Constables Stedman and Drane were at Mrs Griggs’ home to convey her to the Calvary Mater Hospital post haste.
They then accompanied her all the way to her husband’s bedside.
Thanks to the deeds of the duo, Mrs Griggs was able to sit with Daniel – and spend a few precious moments with him before he died.
“Although we met under terrible circumstances, it was nice that we could help Ilona out,” Senior Constable Drane said.
“Jenna and I didn’t second-guess ourselves; we were just happy to assist her.
“From what we understood, Mr Griggs didn’t have long to live.
“So, it was vitally important Ilona could see him.”
The pair’s selfless efforts also caught the attention of Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison, who acknowledged the incident in a Community Recognition Statement in the Legislative Assembly of Parliament of NSW in September.
And, on Thursday 26 November, the local member presented Senior Constables Stedman and Drane with copies of her moving speech.
“Small gestures like this, while dealing with other police issues, are things that make a huge impact on someone’s life,” Ms Aitchison said.
“It also enhances the relationship between our ‘men and women in blue’ and the community.
“They [the officers] were there when we needed them.
“Ilona will be eternally grateful for the Senior Constables’ actions, consideration and kindness.
“I thank all of the hard-working police of Maitland and our local police leadership team for nurturing a culture of care and compassion in our community.”
Port Stephens-Hunter Police District Commander Superintendent Chad Gillies also praised his two young officers.
“It’s terrific to see police being recognised for this kind of work,” he said.
“Senior Constables Stedman and Drane, on this occasion, demonstrated great compassion at a time when this family needed it most.
“Both Jenna and Steve are a credit to themselves and to all the police at Maitland.”