BOGOTA, Colombia—ADRA Colombia was last week awarded the Order of Democracy of Simon Bolivar by the Government of Colombia. The award was instituted in 1980, and is awarded for extraordinary services to Colombia. The award consists of a medal and certificate.
The award was presented by House Representative Hernan Sinisterra Valencia, who said that the government decided to recognize ADRA “to motivate them to continue working and helping people who need it most. For our part we will be accompanying them and doing everything within our power to continue to expand its humanitarian work.”
The award ceremony was held at the Congress of the Republic on December 1. It was attended by 100 people including ADRA staff and volunteers, and representatives of the Adventist Church. ADRA Colombia National Director Gabriel Villarreal accepted the award on behalf of ADRA.
“I am receiving the award on behalf of ADRA in Colombia and on behalf of the Adventist Church,” he said. “Today we have [been] recognized for the work they have done to date, and now this is a motivation to continue contributing to the much needed peace in Colombia.”
ADRA Colombia officially began operations in 1989. Prior to that, the humanitarian work of the Church was done through OFASA (Adventist Philanthropic Social Work). Sinisterra, in presenting the award, made particular mention of the Church’s response to the volcanic mudslides of 1985, which killed more than 20,000 people.
“Little did we know when our leaders responded to the devastating mudslides November 13, 1985 in Armero 30 years ago with relief, housing and schools, that the leaders of the government of Colombia would bestow this honor on the Lord’s faithful in 2015,” said Dr Wally Amundson, recently retired ADRA Director for Inter-America.
“Colombia is a very special country with very different challenges and the fact that ADRA volunteers and professionals are always alert to respond to any situation is something that draws the attention of the government.”
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency International is the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. For more information, visit ADRA.org.
(Photo: Shirley Rueda, IAD staff)