On that July evening, Mr Sergent stayed with Ms Stratton, despite gunfire only being 70 metres away. She clung to his hand tightly as he provided comfort and support until paramedics arrived.
Mr Sergent then went to the hospital to find her. He again stayed and visited daily until her family arrived from Australia.
Speaking from France, Mr Sergent, 60, said he witnessed people being thrown into the air and bodies lying limp on the ground.
«I saw inside the truck and saw he had a weapon – he was firing at the police and they were firing back,» he said.
«My friend and I dashed to hide behind a tree so we weren’t caught in the crossfire.
«I saw on the ground, right next to me, more than a dozen bodies. There were a couple of survivors. I went to help them – one was Adelaide. I bent down and could see she was still moving. The others were covered by restaurant tablecloths.
«At that point the truck was about 70 metres away. But I didn’t know if he had a bomb so I was scared and didn’t know whether to stay and help or run away.
«I made the decision to stay by her side, even if the truck came back. I spoke to her. I could see she had blood all through her hair and her legs had wounds. I checked her for haemorrhages because I used to be a first aid worker.
«I am delighted that Australia is thanking me for helping an Australian on that terrible day. But I would have done it anyway.»
Ms Stratton, 25, who has just started a pottery business in Surry Hills with a ceramics brand called Happy to be Here, said she and another person had nominated Mr Sergent for the bravery award.
«The more focus there is on the positive stories that can come out of these horrible situations the better,» she said.
«He truly deserves it. I have never met anyone more brave. His gut reaction was to run towards a life-threatening situation. Most people would run away. I remember lying on the ground looking at a stranger who was holding my hand.
«In the grand scheme of things I am the luckiest girl in the world. I have some PTSD. I had to learn how to walk again but to be here almost three years later, working and living independently is pretty amazing. I have got Patrick to thank for that. To get through, I have chosen to focus on the good rather than on the bad.»
Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove said the awards honoured those who, without pause, put themselves at personal risk to protect others.
«Mr Sergent is a wonderful example of this and he deserves this recognition. On behalf of all Australians, I thank him for his courage and selflessness,” he said.
The awards saw 101 acts of bravery recognised with three receiving the Star of Courage, although none in NSW. No award was made this year of the highest honour, the Cross of Valour, the non-combat equivalent to the Victoria Cross.
Raymond Jerome received the Bravery Medal posthumously. He alerted residents and tried to extinguish a fire in a block of units in Penshurst in 2012. He experienced cardiac arrest at the scene.
Five officers from NSW Police received the Group Bravery Citation for disarming a man in Greenacre in 2001. Sergeant Duncan Abernethy, Detective Senior Constable Stephen Dodd, Detective Chief Inspector Robert Duncan, Sergeant Mark Johnston and Dr Sandy Nadazdy were taunted by the man armed with a loaded pistol. Three of the officers ran from their place of safety towards the offender and tackled him to the ground. Two other officers quickly went to the assistance of their colleagues to disarm and restrain the offender.
with Jenny Barlass
Tim Barlass is a Senior Writer for The Sydney Morning Herald