Foundation for Civilian Bravery holds Civilian Bravery Awards
The 19th National Civilian Bravery Awards and the third National Civilian Bravery Awards for Students was held yesterday at the BMICH in Colombo.
Chairman of the University Grants Commission Prof. Gamini Samaranayake was the Chief Guest at the event.
The Civilian Bravery Awards, organised by the Foundation for Civilian Bravery, recognises, honours and felicitates civilians who in outstanding acts of bravery risked their lives to save others.
Gold Medal for Civilian Bravery
The Gold Medal for Civilian Bravery at the 19th National Civilian Bravery Awards was presented to Ven. Udawelawatte Dhammarathana Thera, who rescued three people of a group of seven who drowned in the Avaragoda Lake.
Prof. Samaranayake said: “The existence of a society and its development is mainly based on how every person in society connects and reacts to others in society. Therefore, one feature is that our students should work with dedication for the future development of our society.”
Ven. Udawelawatte Dhammarathana Thera of the Sivurudeniya Rajamaha Viharaya, Dambadeniya, won the Gold medal for an extraordinary effort of the priest of the temple to rescue three of a group of seven from drowning in Avaragoda Lake on 18 November 2011.
On 18 November 2011 at about 2:30 p.m. Dhammarathana Thero was in a discussion with one of his lay members of the temple when he got a call about a crowd of people who had fallen into the Avaragoda Lake (Sivurudeniya Lake) and that their lives were in danger.
When he arrived at the ledge of the lake, he saw that a large crowd had gathered around. By then bodies of three people who had fallen in had been pulled out and one had been rescued alive with the help of a bamboo.
Dhammarathana Thero was told that three more persons were still in the water. He queried as to where they were drowned, removed his robe and jumped in. He then realised that it was too deep and that he needed help to rescue them. He came up, got a rope and tied two ends securely over the water and invited those who could be under water to come in to help clinging to the rope.
When Dhammarathana Thero went under water again, he felt that the people who were drowned were holding on to the ground with all their might. With great effort he released their grip and handed them over to those holding on the rope to take them shore. However, they all passed away by the time they were brought to land. Two men and four women died in this incident.
Award: Civilian Bravery Gold Star
Awardee: Wanasingha Arachchige Don Sandunil Sankalpa, Bangadeniya Maha Vidyalaya, Puttalam
Date of incident: 8 August 2011
Place: Mukkanduwa train-highway cross road, Bangadeniya
Incident: Closing the rail gate and avoiding train accident by a Grade 5 student
Sandunil Sankalpa, a Grade 5 student of the Bangadeniya Maha Vidyalaya, was on the way to a nearby shop when he saw a train coming down the track with pilgrims from the Talawila feast. Sankapala noticed that the rail gates were not closed and there was no one to operate them either. He noticed on one side a three-wheeler approaching and on the other a bus with over 40 passengers. Sankapala acted quickly. He managed to close both railway gates, saving dozens of lives.
Award: Civilian Bravery
Rescuers: D.M. Krishantha and Dissanayaka D.M. Pethum Kumarthunga; Arawa Maha Vidyalaya, Arawa, Badulla
Date of incident: 6 October 2011
Place Kalukele, Arawa, Badulla
Incident: Saving school mates from severe wasp attack
On 6 October 2011, while going back home after school, Krishantha and Pathum saw six schoolmates under attack by wasps. Two of them had fainted as a result. Krishantha and Pathum carried these two students to safety on their backs with great difficulty and came back to rescue the others. With the help of the neighbours, all six were taken to hospital and fully recovered after three days.
Award: Civilian Bravery Silver Star
Sunramaniam Romesh, Tamil School, Divituru Estate,
Date of incident: 28 February 2011
Place: Divituru Estate Ethkandura, Elpitiya
Romesh, who studies in the Tamil Vidyalaya, heard the cries of someone coming from the well. When he ran and looked in, he saw eight-year-old Lakshika Darshini inside the well. Romesh grabbed the rope and bucket used to draw water from the well and threw it down for Lakshika to hang on to. He realised that he was not strong enough to pull her up, so he ran around a tree with the rope to secure it and cried out for help. His quick action saved the life of Lakshika who had slipped and fallen into the well.
Award: Merit Certificate of Civilian Bravery
Date of incident: 10 November 2011
Place: Arangala Sea
Incident: Saving two men caught in high tide at Arangala Sea
On 10 November 2011 at 4:30 p.m., lndika Pushpakumara and Upul Susantha were mending their fishing net. Suddenly Upul saw that the sea got rough and some people who were bathing in the sea panicked. Both of them jumped off the rock they were on and ran about a quarter kilometre to their boat. They, together with Ishanka and Chamara who were there and with the encouragement of others present, rode off. When they got closer, they saw three people who were struggling had vanished under the water and another two were struggling to stay afloat. They extended their oars and pulled the two people into their boat. They had to struggle to bring the boat back to shore as the sea was very rough. They administered first aid to the rescued and took them to hospital.