In a modest ceremony held today at Dekelia Air Base, the Ministry for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection gave thanks to the Hellenic Bank Association (HBA) and the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation for their considerable grant to the Fire Service, by means of a lease of four Air-Tractor firefighting aircrafts. Furthermore, thanks to a grant by the HBA and the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, this year, for the first time, the Fire Service has been able to use wildfire retardant liquid in a special mixing facility at the Dekelia Air Base.
The Minister for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, Mr Christos Stylianidis, the Deputy Minister for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, Mr Evangelos Tournas, the General Secretary for Civil Protection, Mr Vasileios Papageorgiou, and the Head of the Fire Service, Lieutenant General Alexios Rapanos, attended the event, along with the leadership of the Fire Service in its entirety. The event was honoured with the presence of the President of the HBA Board of Directors, Mr Vasileios Rapanos, and the President of the Executive Board of the John S. Latsis Foundation, Dr Petros Kalantzis.
Minister Christos Stylianidis extended warm thanks to HBA and the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and gave personal thanks to Mr V. Rapanos and Mr P. Kalantzis, both present at this event, for the highly symbolic initiative, stating that:
“It is our great pleasure and honour to be here today, standing before these aircrafts, which have been made available to us this year, thanks to your considerable grant, to enhance our country’s forest protection capacity. We would like to express our most sincere thanks for your contribution.
A contribution that is proof of the importance of cooperation, of synergies; especially in the face of unprecedented challenges, such as the climate crisis and its consequences. We, at the Ministry for Climate Change and Civil Protection, have put cooperation at the heart of our strategy – because no one can stand alone against circumstances which are often beyond us all.
Thus, we cooperate with institutions that stand out with their action, such as the Hellenic Bank Association and the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation; we cooperate with the scientific community, with volunteer organisations, we cooperate with civil society; we cooperate at every level: prevention, preparation/readiness, resilience.
Because the major challenges of climate change require us to act together. They require the cooperation of all forces of society. They require institutions and the State to assist each other, in the way the Hellenic Bank Association and the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation have, always with the high sense of social responsibility and contribution that permeates their actions. Continuing the tradition of the ancient Greek ‘choregia’ (sponsorship), of offering to the ‘polis’, for the greater good.
Please let me convey once again our sincere gratitude to all of you for your generous contribution. A contribution that has strengthened our country’s forest firefighting capacity, allowing the Fire Service’s officers to carry out their mission with greater efficiency and to ensure, through their daily struggle, a successful firefighting season. I reiterate our immense gratitude.”
In response, the President of the HBA Board of Directors, Mr Vasileios Rapanos, noted as follows:
It is with great pleasure that the Hellenic Bank Association participates in this event today; we would like to express our sincere thanks for the invitation and the recognition of our contribution to your efforts to help the State address the issue of wildfires. Over the years, the Hellenic Bank Association and its members have willingly responded, with generosity, to actions that benefit society, the public interest and the satisfaction of social needs at national level. I would like to thank you in particular because this is the first time that an official body of the State has publicly acknowledged our contribution to a national operation. We have always been present at critical moments and we have not ceased, even in the admittedly difficult years of the economic crisis, to quietly monitor needs and support the health sector, the education sector and vulnerable social groups. Furthermore, I would like to thank you for an additional reason: this year’s success of your attempt to minimise the devastating effects of the fires has taught us a very important lesson: that outstanding results can be achieved through systematic and methodical work, with your willingness to contribute selflessly and with your colleagues’ keenness and spirit of self-sacrifice.”
As stated by Dr Petros Kalantzis, President of the Executive Board of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation:
“Tackling the climate crisis, both globally and domestically, requires coordinated action and adequate resources. It requires a concerted effort to meet the ever-increasing needs. And I welcome our impeccable cooperation, the rapid implementation of the donation and the successful use of the aircrafts during the current firefighting season.
This donation forms part of our Foundation’s long tradition of contributing to the Fire Service’s needs, in the context of emergency programmes that we have designed and implemented following the catastrophic fires that hit our country in 2007, 2018 and 2021, aiming, among other things, to upgrade the mechanisms for preventing and responding to natural disasters, as well as to generally enhance the preparedness and resilience of the National Civil Protection System. And it is fortunate that important initiatives have been taken so far to upgrade the role of Civil Protection, both at institutional and operational level, and they are already bearing fruit.
On behalf of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the leadership of the Ministry for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, the Fire Service and individually their staff, and professional and volunteer firefighters for their invaluable dedication to duty and for their self-denial.”