Brač firefighters win ‘Pride of Croatia’ award for act of kindness which left tourists blown away
- by croatiaweek
- in News
An act of human kindness which left tourists on vacation in Croatia blown away has helped firefighters on the island of Brač win a ‘Pride of Croatia’ award.
Luiz Calfa and Carolin Puppel and their two children were involved in a car accident whilst on holiday this past summer on the Croatian island of Brač.
Thankfully nobody was seriously injured in the crash, but what happened over the following hours and days left the family with a newfound belief in human kindness and goodness and a deep bond to the island and its people.
“By miracle the children did not get harmed at all and we suffered only injuries that will heal over time. My wife and I were wounded and trapped inside the car wreck. Many people had stopped and tried to help immediately. Despite of the complex situation we were rescued with extreme professionalism by the hands of the experienced Nikola Martinic Dragan, chief of Supetar Firefighters and transported by helicopter to the Split Hospital by his team. During the rescue operation Nikola was extremely engaged, talking to us and calming us down, reinsuring us that the kids are safe,” Luiz told us at the time.
Luiz said that his family will be forever grateful to Croatia he felt compelled to detail what happened in a letter he sent to the Mayor of Supetar, Ivana Marković.
Here is what he wrote:
Dear Madam Ivana,
We are Luiz Calfa and Carolin Puppel, a Brazilian-German family with two children, Maximilian (8) and Nicolas (3). We came to the island of Brac a tourists visiting your country for the first time this summer. However, a terrible misfortune interrupted our visit on the 3rd day of our vacation and brought us now to write you this letter.
We suffered a severe car accident while returning to Supetar from Bol on the afternoon of July 17th. By miracle the children did not get harmed at all and we adults suffered only injuries that will heal over time. We have been given a new life – and despite the terrible circumstances of the accident, it is the source of a newfound believe in human kindness, goodness and deep bond to the island of Brac and its people.
My wife and I were wounded and trapped inside car wreck. Many people had stopped and tried to help immediately. Despite of the complex situation we were rescued with extreme professionalism by the hands of the experienced Nikola Martinic Dragan, chief of Supetar Firefighters and transported by helicopter to the Split Hospital by his team. During the rescue operation Nikola was extremely engaged, talking to us and calming us down, reinsuring us that the kids are safe.
You might say that until here, what happened is what is expected of a good, professional rescue team doing their job.But what followed over the next hours and days goes beyond what we could ever imagine – a true example of human kindness and sense of service by various people.
Concerned with the emotional conditions of the kids who had to stay back while their parents were taken away, Chief Peruzo asked around in the traffic jam that had formed if anybody could speak German and could help translate. By very fortunate coincidence a Danish child psychologist (also on vacation with her family) came forward and offered to help.
In addition to that, Jakov Zlatar and Peruzo contacted a local social service employee who kindly offered to move to the DVD for 2 days and take care of the kids while their parents were not discharged from hospital. She looked after the kids with great kindness and accepted the care-taking responsibility with the local Police.
When my wife and me left the hospital we found our happy, emotionally stable and completely integrated in their new Croatian “family of firefighters”. They learnt some words in Croatian and made so many new friends that didn’t want to leave the DVD and stay in Croatia.
In turbulent and negative times like these our world faces right now, we were blessed to get to know people like Peruzo and his team. They have shown to us that kindness and goodness still lives in the human beings. They are amazing examples of public service being executed with professionalism, a dedication to service and human kindness. They represented their country in the best possible form – you have gained four life-long friends and admirers of Croatia and its people.
You can be proud of the service you are providing to your people and to the ones that are visiting your country.
Luiz and Carolin
The Pride of Croatia awards, organised by daily newspaper 24sata and Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT), rewards the brave, good and honest people for their acts and is being held for the 18th time. The award ceremony will be held on February 4, said HRT.