The annual Pride of Croatia Awards, honouring people who performed extraordinary deeds, have been held once again in Zagreb.
The President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović attended the award presentation ceremony Ponos Hrvatske (Pride of Croatia). She congratulated the award recipients and said she is proud that year in, year out the number of nominees is increasing, which confirms the extraordinary humanitarian persona of our people, the solidarity and fellowship in helping those most in need.
“Today’s recipients – like all the award recipients to date – are proof that there are people who, through their kindness and nobility, have genuinely touched our lives, without fear and without the expectation that they will be in the spotlight here today,” the President of the Republic remarked at the ceremony organized by the association for the promotion of courage, humaneness and altruism Ponos Hrvatske, the daily newspaper 24 sata and Croatian Radiotelevision.
Anyone can find themselves in a situation where they will depend on someone else and a life-changing moment can come at any time, just as someone who is bold and brave can change our lives thanks to a timely response, said President Grabar-Kitarović, who was the patron of the award ceremony.
After congratulating the award recipients for their benevolence and humanitarian efforts, President Grabar-Kitarović also expressed her gratitude to the media for “recognizing the importance of promoting humaneness and moral virtues, highlighting those people who have truly showed love for their neighbour and who are creating a positive energy in our society.”
Ponos Hrvatske is an award recognizing those individuals who have were exceptionally humane through their deeds, inspired others, or did something that set them apart as an example to other people – regardless of whether they saved someone’s life, performed a good deed or were incredibly courageous.
The Bursać Brothers, Danijel and Boris, received the award for their work with special needs children as taekwondo coaches of the club Čigra from Zagreb; Matija Frlić from Samobor was awarded for launching a judo program for children with developmental difficulties; Kristina Zrinka Kožul received the award for starting Pilates courses in Split for women suffering from multiple sclerosis, and she herself was afflicted by this disease after giving birth to her son.
Nikica Spudić, Romano Mužak and Marin Božičević Rizo from Duga Resa are the pride of Croatia because of their heroic feat from March of last year. Namely, during a major flood, they prevented the embankment of the Una River near the village of Tanac from breaking.
Marina and Vladimir Hoblaj, the parents of six adopted and four foster children from Mursko Središće, are also the pride of Croatia, as are Ankica and Rade Bulić from Ogulin, who have two adult children of their own, but have adopted three children in their home without proper parental care.
A police officer with a big heart, Kristijan Srpak from Međimurje, received the Ponos Hrvatske award for using a large sum of money he earned at humanitarian competitions to help eight-year-old Ivan Sabol from Palovec recover from an illness.
The courageous Stjepan Kirasić from Josipdol is also the pride of Croatia. He invested extraordinary efforts to pull out of a car and save the life of his injured sister Marijana and brother-in-law Dragomir Tenčerić, who were involved in a serious car accident near Generalski Stol in August of last year.
Vesna Ujević from Krivodol near Imotski was awarded for helping a large number of poor children in Africa, for whom she made education possible. Retired dentist Dr. Zdravko Janč from Slavonski Brod received an award for volunteering at the Anti-Cancer League of Slavonski Brod.
Mira Čuvdić, a teacher from Rajić Primary School near Novska, is the pride of Croatia because she devised various materials for aiding the education of children with special needs, while Ante Bonacin, a bus driver from Split became the pride of Croatia because he was “not able to act against his conscience,” i.e. for stopping the bus and refusing to continue driving, after he observed that passengers did not allow a disabled passenger to board the bus first.
Matej Barhanović and Matej Lisičar from Bol on the island of Brač received the Ponos Hrvatske award for rescuing two stranded surfers from the channel between Brač and Hvar, Petar Rac from Podravski Novigrad was awarded for donating blood 150 times and Valentina Koprivnjak from Krapinske Toplice received the award for helping poor families.
Dino Škamo, a firefighter from Rijeka, was awarded for his selfless assistance and for risking his own life, which occurred as he dove into the rugged waters of Pećine in Rijeka and rescued several people who jumped into the sea to traditionally mark New Year. Mirta Kišak Koch, Katarina Križanić, Silvia Sić and Tereza Buconić were awarded for setting up the Facebook group Čarolija darivanja / [The Magic of Giving], through which they are collecting gifts for children in orphanages without proper parental care.