There is a police officer attached to the Police Life Saving Unit who was awarded with the ‘Virujana Silver Mudrikawa’ at the 23rd Virujana Award Ceremony held recently.
This Police Officer has gained the needed experience to become a lifeguard from the areas associated with hydraulic civilization tank systems as well as Dandugama Oya in Seeduwa. As a result, he had been awarded with the above award for the adventurous task performed by him risking his life during the 32 years of serving Sri Lanka Police. While working as a lifeguard of Sri Lanka Police he had saved about 150 people who were about to fall victim to the rough sea.
This officer who brought honour to Sri Lanka Police is Sergeant A.W.A.Don Nihal Sarath Kumara (56). He is at present engaged in duty in the coastal area of Eththukala.
He is the fifth in a family of 10 and was born in Kotarupe in Raddoluwa. His father was a school principal. His mother was a teacher. Sarath Kumara who gained his education from Raddolugama Maha Vidyalaya and Thambuththegama Vidyalaya joined Kalutara Police Training College as a trainee Police constable on June 10, 1984.
When delving into his lifesaving task, it was during his student years that he first saved a life. That was the life of a lady. She was saved by him from being drowned in Dandugama oya. In the meantime, he has won the bronze medal and obtained the training certificate following the completion of his training in 1987. He has represented Ratnapura Police Division at 1985-86 Police Inter-Division Swimming Tournament. These achievements inspired him to render a valuable service to the country in latter years.
Often he was alone
He has served in many areas in the coastal belt of the country. He has also served where there are rivers and tanks and also during festive occasions as a life guard. He has performed the task of saving lives of the people who live near reservoirs and rivers. He has also performed duties on poya holidays in places like Anuradhapura, Kandy and Yovunpura. On such occasions he was able to save about 150 lives while being engaged in lifesaving. He has also saved lives in the Wellawatta, Mt.Lavinia, Hikkaduwa, Eththukala, Kirinda and Talawila sea belts. Something special about his life saving feats is that about 100 lives were saved without anybody’s assistance.
In addition to his above feats, he has chipped in with his contributions which came in the form of training school children to swim in Kalu Ganga. This was when he was performing his duties in Ratnapura and Balangoda areas.
He was awarded with the ‘Virujana Silver Mudrikawa’ on September 25, 2007 at a ceremony organised by Vira Podujana Peramuna. This ceremony was held under the patronage of the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and the then State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardena. The award was presented considering the adventurous task performed by him risking his life and saving the lives of six persons. These people were about to drown in the sea.
In the meantime he also received the ‘Derana Viru’ Award as well. Sarath Kumara has received more than hundred good remarks due to his performances as a lifeguard. He has been held in high esteem on two occasions by the Inspector General of Police. He emerged as the winner of the swimming championships held in Ratnapura and Vavuniya.
In response to a question asked by this writer as to how he developed his swimming skills, Sarath Kumara said, “ I attended schools all over the country while living with my dad. I got the opportunity to excel in swimming thanks to Dandugama Oya in my village and the tanks scattered in many areas in the country. While I was playing volleyball during my school time, I was able to save a life of a lady. I was also able to help in removing two bodies of those who had drowned in Dandugam Oya.
He added that he was able to bring Sri Lanka Police under the spotlight under the directions of Senior SP Chulasiri and SP Piyadasa Silva after joining the law enforcement department. According to him, he had faced a dreadful experience when he tried to save twelve lives in Kirinda. He took this opportunity to thank his fellow police officers who had helped him shine as a lifeguard.
In conclusion, he said that he had decided to engage in ordinary police duties during the three years left in his career in Sri Lanka Police. (Courtesy Lankadeepa)