“A TRUE HERO”: Marine officer hangs up hat after 44 years
FROM missing swimmers to sinking boats, Sergeant Donald Stewart has seen it all in his four decades of service.
He is the Marine Area Command’s longest-serving officer and today he was hailed as a “true hero” at a march-out to mark his retirement.
“People are alive today because of Sgt Don Stewart and the great work he and his colleagues do in the Marine Area Command,” Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy said.
“Today we farewell a fine gentleman, a great sergeant, great man, a great family man and a great Australian.”
Sgt Stewart, who will officially retire at the end of the week, began with the NSW Police Force at Parramatta in 1976.
The 60-year-old said it was his time as a police cadet that inspired him to join the Marine Area Command four years later in 1980.
“I got my first experience out with the water police when I was a 16-year-old police cadet and I just knew that this is what I wanted to do with my life,” Sgt Stewart said.
“Being out on the water, helping to rescue people who come into trouble – it’s been a really fulfilling career.”
During his career, Sgt Stewart was awarded the National Medal and its clasps, the National Police Service Medal and the NSW Police Medal.
Today, in the presence of his friends, family and colleagues, he was presented the sixth clasp for the NSW Police Medal.
Sgt Stewart said his retirement plans involve spending more time with family and friends, and staying close to the state’s beaches.