A memorial plate dedicated to the first Hero of Russia from the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations Andrei Rozhkov has been opened at the headquarters of Tsentrospas team in the town of Zhukovsky, outside Moscow.
The rescuer died on the North Pole on 22 April 1998 during the testing of new underwater equipment. Order of the President of 30 June 1998 conferred him the title of Hero of Russia.
The unveiling ceremony was attended by deputy minister for emergency situations Vladlen Aksyonov, current rescuers of Tsentrospas team and veterans, Andrei Rozhkov’s son Aleksei. The right to lift the cover from the memorial plate was given to honored rescuer of Russia, deputy chief of Tsentrospas team’s SAR service Ivan Sulayev and deputy chief of the team Vladimir Potapov who had worked with Mr. Rozhkov.
“We are gathered here to remember once more those who served with us. Mr. Rozhkov was a wonderful man with great many qualities. He was a high-class specialist, a brilliant organizer, but most importantly he was a man of compassion,” said Mr. Aksyonov. “Mr. Rozhkov demonstrated those qualities during humanitarian operations in Bosnia and Chechnya when they had to evacuate injured and sick people in very difficult conditions. His life is a remarkable example of how one should love the rescuing profession, be proud and cherish one’s homeland.”
Kirill Borodin, chief of Tsentrospas team also spoke at the ceremony.
“This memorial plate is our tribute to Mr. Rozhkov, one of the pioneers of the team, a rescuer to the core. This plate is a link in the chain connecting generations of rescuers, a symbol of our cause going down in generations. Young people coming to serve in our team should remember those who came before them,” he said.
At the end of the event, Father Nikolai, the Shukovsky rural dean, sanctified the plate and the present laid flowers to it.
Andrei Rozhkov was employed at the training, sports and rescue department of the Alpinism Administration of the All-Union Council of the All-Union Volunteer Sports Society of trade unions in 1986. In 1991, he got transferred to the RSFSR State Committee for Emergency Situations, was a leading specialist and them deputy chief of Tsentrospas team. On 16 December 1992, he got qualified as International Class Rescuer. Mr. Rozhkov took part in first massive operations conducted by the Emergency Ministry in Ufa, Tuva, Tkvarchel, saving many human lives. He headed one of SAR divisions of Tsentrospas, took part in relief operations after floods in Dagestan and worked in Grozny, participated in relief operation after almost all large disasters both in Russia and abroad.