Most deserving individuals in the fight against Covid-19 decorated
Today, President of the Republic and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces Aleksandar Vučić presented decorations to members of the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces for exceptional merit and engaging in the activities to prevent the spread of the infectious disease Covid-19, which they were awarded on the public holiday - the Armistice Day.
The award ceremony was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Nebojša Stefanović, PhD and Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, General Milan Mojsilović.
The decorated members of the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces distinguished themselves by implementing preventative measures against Covid-19 and providing assistance to civilian population.
On the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the Battle of Košare, President of the Republic also presented the Order of the White Eagle with Swords, Second Degree, to retired Lieutenant Colonel Dragutin Dimčevski for personal heroism and skilful command over the Yugoslav Armed Forces' 53rd Border Battalion in 1998 and 1999.
Addressing the gathering, President Vučić pointed out that these were valuable and important decorations, but not in the material sense, but in the “human sense” and they showed how indebted their homeland was to these individuals for their deeds.
- We do not award a lot of decorations, but in difficult times, those who are the most hard-working, the best and who deserve the state’s gratitude always show themselves. I would like to thank you for your hard work, enthusiasm and dedication - President Vučić emphasized, adding that decorations were something that they would keep forever and that they and their families would be proud of, because the state was able to recognize them and decorate them for magnificent and exceptional deeds.
Addressing the decorated members of the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces, the President pointed out that they were no longer only corporals, captains, lieutenant colonels, colonels and generals, but recipients of Serbia’s state decorations.
- Each of you must always be aware of this. You are special and you have proven yourself to your country and your people, but it also obliges you and makes you responsible for life. So I ask you to wear your decorations with pride, because you have something to be proud of - your work, so that everyone around you, from your children onwards, can look up to you - said President Vučić.
Wishing them success and good health, and wishing for some easier times for all of us, President Vučić expressed belief that, even if that was not the case, they would know how to fulfil all responsibilities and obligations in the best possible way.
- On behalf of the Republic of Serbia, I would like to thank you all most sincerely for everything you have done, and we expect nothing less from you in the future – President of the Republic Aleksandar Vučić concluded.
The Gold Medal of Merit was awarded to the commander of the MMC Karaburma’s Covid hospital, Colonel Ivo Udovičić, MD.
The Order of the White Eagle with Swords, Third Degree, was awarded to the Deputy Commander of the Training Command, Brigadier General Jelesije Radivojević, and the commander of temporary Covid hospitals "Belgrade Fair" and "Belgrade Arena", Colonel Radivoje Anđelković. The Order of Merit in the Matters of Defence and Security, Third Degree, was awarded to the director of the Military Hospital Novi Sad, Colonel Dragan Koruga, MD.
The Silver Medal for Bravery “Miloš Obilić” was awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Branislav Krnjajić, engaged in implementing security measures on border crossings, in migrant centres and during the reception of our citizens arriving from abroad and Captain Toma Zorzić, engaged in carrying out tasks to prevent the spread of Covid-19 together with members of the Russian Armed Forces.
The Silver Medal of Merit was awarded to the Head of the MMA’s Institute of Epidemiology, Colonel Srđan Lazić, Head of Department at the MMA’s Clinic for Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Colonel Petar Ćurčić, Head of the Military Medical Centre “Karaburma”, Lieutenant Colonel Milan Mladenović, Head of the MMA’s Emergency Centre, Lieutenant Colonel Milan Jovanović, Lieutenant Colonel Negovan Ivanković who was engaged in carrying out tasks to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 infectious disease together with members of the Russian Armed Forces, Head of the MMA’s Maintenance Service, Sergeant Major First Class Momčilo Marić, Sergeant Major Miroslav Ljiljak who was engaged in implementing security measures at the Secondary School Students’ Hall of Residence "Patriarch Pavle" and the MMC Karaburma’s temporary Covid hospital, Sergeant Major Goran Petrović, engaged in implementing security measures at the Clinical Centre Kragujevac, and Sergeant Major Jovica Deljanin, engaged in implementing measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infectious disease.
The Gold Medal for Zealous Service was awarded to the commander of the temporary Covid hospital at the "Čair" Hall in Niš, Lieutenant Colonel Zoran Smiljković. Colonel Udovičić thanked the President for the medal and emphasized that it was a medal for everyone working in the Covid system, considering that the "Karaburma" hospital had been working continuously with Covid patients for eight months.
- I am grateful to the President for the medal, but I do not view it as my personal medal. This is a medal for all of us who work in the Covid system. Since it has been awarded to me, this is a medal for the military hospital "Karaburma" - said Colonel Udovičić and added that it was a medal for that hospital’s staff.
Lieutenant Colonel Krnjajić said that a medal was something that an officer "waits for his whole life".
- The medal named after the hero Miloš Obilić says it all. The unit I commanded during the pandemic did its best to help everyone overcome the problems in the best possible way. This decoration goes to that unit first and then to myself - said Lieutenant Colonel Krnjajić.
Sergeant Major Petrović from the MP’s Fifth Battalion thanked the President of the Republic for the decoration and emphasized that the medal would be an incentive for him to work harder and more devotedly. He emphasized that "the medal belongs to all members of the Military Police, especially to colleagues from the Fifth Battalion."
- We are successfully coping with tasks assigned to us daily, but I would like to call on the citizens to follow all the measures and make personal contribution so that we can get out of this pandemic - said Sergeant Major Petrović.
As Lieutenant Colonel Dimčevski pointed out, the decoration meant a lot to him and to all members and fellow fighters who had participated in the defence of the homeland against the NATO aggression in 1998 and 1999.
- Although the decoration may have arrived late, our President has still corrected a great injustice. For more than two decades, the truth about the battles on Košare, Morina, Paštrik and other frontier posts that took place during the NATO aggression was hidden - retired Lieutenant Colonel Dimčevski emphasized.