Reluctant hero to accept Vic bravery award

Governor Linda Dessau will present awards that recognise the bravery of a number of Victorians.
Governor Linda Dessau will present awards that recognise the bravery of a number of Victorians.

Victorian Luke Chilcott put his life on the line to protect his terrified neighbour and her four children - and says he would do it again.

The 36-year-old from Wangaratta is among six people set to be honoured with bravery awards presented by Victorian Governor Linda Dessau on Thursday.

Mr Chilcott came to the aid of neighbour Ora Holt and her children on Anzac Day in 2017 as they fled inside his Wangaratta family home.

Ms Holt and the children were escaping her partner, who Mr Chilcott attempted to negotiate with as he smashed his way inside only to have a high-powered rifle pointed at his chest.

His gallantry could have cost him his life, but it's not something he thought twice about.

"Would I put myself in that situation again? Yes, every day of the week," the Ace Radio account manager told AAP.

"But would you want to wish it upon anyone else, certainly not."

The incident ended in murder-suicide, with the man shooting Ms Holt dead before turning the gun on himself.

The ordeal has had a huge impact on his family of four, he said, but one that pales in comparison to the loss and grief felt by Ms Holt's children and loved ones.

More than three years on, Mr Chilcott's heroic actions will be formally acknowledged.

He was reluctant to accept the award until others convinced him it could be a vehicle to speak out on much-needed mental health reform.

"We need to make it OK to talk," he said.

"We can have as many campaigns as we like but we need to actually find a way to change it because this could have been avoided."

Mr Chilcott insists his wife is equally deserving of recognition, having let Ms Holt and her kids take refuge inside the home.

"I've asked the Governor to acknowledge my wife because without her actions on the day, letting Ora and her kids into our home, I wouldn't be a hero today," he said.

"There would have been a much worse outcome."

The Royal Humane Society of Australasia bravery awards have been forced online this year due to COVID-19, with Mr Chilcott marking the event with a small home gathering.

Other Victorians to be awarded include Cooper Sampson, Mohammad Al Zaidy, Youssef Tawk and Clint Donnelly, as well as Emily Bartley who will be posthumously recognised.

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Australian Associated Press