A DUP councillor and IRA murder bid survivor has described his MBE as recognition for terror victims in general.
Sammy Brush, from Ballygawley in Co Tyrone, has been recognised for his services to the community.
He was shot and seriously wounded in an IRA gun attack in Aughnacloy in 1981 while a part-time member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) but was able to return fire with his personal protection weapon, wounding one of the terrorists. Since then he has worked to support other victims and survivors of terrorism.
“A very good friend of mine who was a major in the UDR, Harry Stevenson, said to me at the time, ‘God had brought you through this for a purpose – make sure you do your best to fulfil that purpose’.
“I have tried to do that and to stand up for victims, and it’s great that there is some recognition for those victims that have come through quite a bit. It will give me the impetus to carry on doing what I’m doing.”
News of the award was officially announced last night – 33 years to the day since Mr Brush was ambushed while delivering mail.
“I have been fortunate in that I survived an attack and was able to carry on and do all the things that I have done,” he said.
Mr Brush said he was elected a councillor on the May 20, 1981 and shot just three weeks later.
He said he was “absolutely delighted” with the MBE, and added: “I believe it was my party that put me forward. I got a letter about a month ago in the strictest confidence so I didn’t tell anyone, my wife or anybody, until today.
“It’s also a tribute to my wife and family who have put up with a lot over the years. I never anticipated that I would be given an honour of this nature. I am obviously now looking forward to visiting the palace to receive the award.”
DUP leader Peter Robinson said: “Sammy has faced not just an attempt on his life, but also faced a series of attacks on his home. He has demonstrated enormous bravery right throughout this.”