CAPTION: Corporal Michael Stoop, of 6th/13th Light Battery, Tasmania, is one of this year’s Jonathan Church Good Soldiering Award recipients. Story by Private Nicholas Marquis.
Jonathan Church Good Soldiering Award
The Jonathan Church Good Soldiering Award acknowledges junior soldiers and officers who consistently demonstrate Army’s five values and who embody Army’s contract with the nation. The recipients attended a ceremony to receive their awards on March 1 at Russell Offices, Canberra, to coincide with Army’s birthday.
One of this year’s four recipients was Corporal Michael Stoop.
Corporal Michael Stoop heard bone-chilling screams as he approached the scene of a three-car accident.
Just on dusk on May 10, 2022, outside a Tasmanian country town, Corporal Stoop came across chaos spread across both lanes.
With fuel leaking from the vehicles, Corporal Stoop was careful not to put him or his son – in his car with him – in harm’s way.
Noticing an empty child seat in one of the cars involved in the accident, the main priority was checking to see if there was an infant involved.
“We scoured the area but luckily found no signs of a child,” Corporal Stoop said.
“There was one deceased teenager, he had no pulse, and the mother in the vehicle was slumped over so we smashed the window and yanked the door open.
“She was still warm. We did a bit of resus but she was unable to be saved.”
On assessing the scene, he confirmed there were two dead and three injured. Taking control of the scene, Corporal Stoop directed civilians to look after casualties while he called triple zero to relay details of the accident.
Once emergency services arrived, he completed a handover, helped to do an area assessment and continued to assist with diverting traffic.
“I don’t normally drive home on a Tuesday night, but I had to pick up my son from work,” Corporal Stoop said.
“I didn’t want him to see it; I didn’t want him to also be in harm’s way.”
This wasn’t the first time Corporal Stoop had faced this type of situation.
In December 2010, he was first on the scene of a double fatality that also involved children.
“When I did my first incident, I had a female digger with me who was really young. I didn’t want her to see what happened; it was the same with my son,” he said.
“[This recent accident] was stressful and it did bring back memories of 2010, but I just did what I did because it was the right thing to do. I wasn’t chasing any award.”