Thousands of congratulatory messages are flooding the internet for a 10-year-old Greek girl, who showed amazing bravery when she ran to the assistance of the passengers involved in a fatal collision on a Melbourne freeway.
Olivia Tsiavas, the young hero of the day, was given an award by Victoria Police in recognition for her courage, on Tuesday.
On receiving the award she stated: “Today reminded me of the accident that happened back in March. I’m glad to have pulled over with my dad to help people in need… I really appreciate everything the Police do for our community. Thank you for the gifts and time you spent with me”.
The tragic multi-car collision happened a few cars in front of Olivia and her dad, who were travelling on the freeway, on Sunday 7 March.
“Olivia and I were driving home to Kew after visiting the grandparents, on a Sunday morning, and all of sudden this vehicle came off the ramp on the freeway, causing four cars to collide,” her dad, Achilles Tsiavas, told Neos Kosmos.
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“We were lucky not be injured as we were just a couple of cars behind. We ran to the car. There was petrol and smoke on the ground, and Olivia rushed to open the door of the car. The driver was not in a good way. We got his partner out and Olivia was hugging her and comforting her for the next two hours and until the emergency services came and attend to the victims,” Mr Tsiavas added.
Olivia is the youngest of four children. “I think she taught everybody that day how we need to be there for anyone in need, not just family,” her father says.
“We are blown away by all the messages we have received since the award,” he said, adding that they have received so many messages and phone calls, even from Greece.
“It brings something positive from something terrible that happened,” Mr Tsiavas said, as the tragic and horrific accident they witnessed was devastating and cannot be forgotten.
Mr Tsiavas said Victoria Police have been supportive, and added that they would rush to help again if the need ever arose.
“We have grown up with that mentality. When the time comes we will run into the fight. That’s just who we are and what we stand for,” he said, adding that these values were instilled to him by his own father who was always involved in the community. Now a father himself, he tells his own children “that life is about contribution and not acquisition.”
Olivia, a student at Ivanhoe East Primary School, is one of the youngest recipients to be awarded by the Police. Since she was six she has always dreamt of being a policewoman, and her father is convinced that one day she will have some sort of leadership role in the community.