This Year’s «Pride of Latvia» Awards Distributed

December 29, 2005 / Banking

On December 26, TV3 broadcast the «Pride of Latvia» ceremony, at which Golden Apple Tree statuettes were received by 10 individuals who had been selected by a special jury. The next day, the newspaper Diena published a special supplement to report on the stories of the award recipients. The paper also listed all of the nominees for the «Pride of Latvia» award.

For the second year in a row, TV3 and Diena had called on everyone in Latvia to send in letters with descriptions of people who, for years, have been selfless in helping others, who have come to someone’s aid, have given someone hope, or have helped to fulfil a long-held dream.

The «Rescuer» award this year was received by Andris Gailis, who rescued Andis Vansovics from the Ogre River, despite the fact that the ice on the river was fragile and the situation threatened not just Andis, who would otherwise have drowned, but also Andris. The «Teacher» award went to Elvira Aizupe, who works at school in the Marinkalns Parish of the Aluksne District and teaches her students not just the usual subject matter, but also sincerity and love for family, the environment and those around oneself.

In the «Through Thorns to the Stars» category, the Golden Apple Tree statuette went to Arnis Irbe, who, after spending time in prison, returned to normal life and helped others who have problems with the law find their way in life. The «Youth Initiate» award was received by a group of young people from the Liksna Parish, who work and relax together, but also bring their parents, grandparents and other residents of the parish into their deeds and misdeeds.

This year’s «Pride of Parish» award was received by Voldemars Elkins, who, for 40 years and longer, has taken care of the health of local residents in the Virbi Parish and has always been ready to go to the rescue even in the middle of the night. «Support for One’s Fellow Human Being» is the category which this year was won by Zenija Stunda, who takes care of more than 20 people in the Bauska District who suffer from multiple sclerosis, making their lives easier and happier. The «Family» prize was received by Gaida Brezovska. Her life was such that she did not get much of an education as a young woman, and so now she pushes her grandchildren to study hard so that they don’t suffer the life difficulties which she has experienced.

The Golden Apple Tree statuette in the category «More Than Duties Expect» was received by the «Namins» crisis centre of the Auce Latvian Association, where tireless activists help to take care of the children of impoverished families. The «Self-Initiative» category was won by Peteris Spruksts, whose life has been devoted to cleaning up the banks of the Daugava River. He is selfless in doing this work, and he calls on other people in Latvia to join him in this wonderful task. And finally, the «Self Denial» award was received by Judite Dzelza, director of an organisation called «Youth With a Mission». She helps young people to deal with various kinds of addictions.

The jury for the «Pride of Latvia» awards was made up of the editor-in-chief of Diena, Sarmite Elerte, TV3 director Kaspars Ozolins, Diena representative Aleksandrs Tralmaks, Aizkraukles Banka co-owner and deputy board chairman Olegs Fils, musician Renars Kaupers, poets Imants Ziedonis and Mara Zalite, the Rev. Juris Rubenis, Save the Children board chairwoman Inguna Ebela, athlete Raimonds Bergmanis, TV3 representative Daina Ostrovska, and last year’s «Pride of Latvia» award recipient, Solveiga Petrova.

The ceremony at which this year’s prizes were awarded was full of touching moments, but also very musical. In honour of the recipients of the award, stage performers including Gunars Kalnins and his gospel choir band, Lauris Reiniks, Jana Key, Martins Freimanis and his group «Tumsa», Linda Leen, Igo, Janis Stibelis and Amber, Labveligais Tips and others took the stage.

«Pride of Latvia» is now an annual tradition, and next year everyone will once again be asked to send in letters about those who deserve recognition from the entire country.