Firefighters and members of the USAR are being honoured today for their rescue efforts in the Hotel Rigopiano avalanche. Their dedication and ability to go above and beyond in their work was praised by Mayor Dario Nardella, who awarded each member a Fiorino D’oro, the highest award of honourable recognition in the city of Florence.
Thanks to these individuals, four children and five adults have been saved from the wreckage. At the onset, 30 guests were reported missing, many of which were presumed dead. The avalanche completely destroyed the 4-star Abruzzo hotel, presumably caused by a series of four earthquakes earlier on in the week.
Mayor Dario Nardella believes that these individuals are much more than just professionals in their field. He calls them heroes.
“People often question why they do it, and they do it because they have great passion,” he said. “They do it because they love their country, they love their work… they are an example for everyone to be better.”
These are the people who assembled an emergency rescue team when other local authorities didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. These are the people who used their bare hands, ice picks and braced several feet of snow in order to save those reaching out for help. With the help of service dogs, these firefighters and rescue team workers banded together to capture and free as many entrapped as possible.
This is the first time that the Fiorino D’Oro is going to an animal, and for good reason. The service dogs played a huge role in helping the firefighters and rescue team members locate where victims had been trapped, and without their help, the workers’ jobs would have been infinitely more difficult.
The environmental dangers in Tuscany are on an alarming rise. Mayor Nardella pointed out the floods, road collapses, and life-costing storms and earthquakes that have become all too familiar to the people of Tuscany in the past several years, and that preventative action and preparation for future environmental disasters needs to be taken more seriously. It is the work of individuals like the ones being honoured today that reminds the people of Florence of the importance of preparedness and maintaining strong, dedicated rescue authorities.
Unity has been the only way for all of the workers to make it through this difficult situation. Locating survivors in a team effort has brought feelings of triumph to each of the workers, but discovering those who did not survive the outcome wounds them deeply. Together, they are honoured for their humanity.