Maltesers 30th Anniversary Celebration
The Order of Malta Relief Organization (Maltesers) celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. This anniversary is a great opportunity to thank the veterans of the organization, the volunteers who have done the most for the organization, the loyal supporters and to welcome the greetings of the international Maltesers. It is gratifying that the activities are appreciated by the state authorities, who presented their certificates of appreciation to Maltesers at the anniversary celebrations.
The organization celebrating its jubilee in Lithuania unites about 1500 volunteers in 43 localities of the country, providing assistance to the elderly, children growing up in needy families, the disabled, and persons in difficulty, refugees.
On Saturday evening – 11 September – the 30th anniversary celebration of Maltesers took place at the Vaidilos Theatre. The ceremony started with a greeting from the President Valdas Adamkus, Honorary Member of the Order of Malta and patron of the “Maltesers‘ Soup” campaign. The President himself was not able to attend the event, but his warm words to Maltesers were a very important appreciation and encouragement for future work. In the solemn atmosphere of the theatre, the evening was filled with wonderful music – the orchestra under the direction of Vytautas Lukočius, and songs performed by soloists Viktorija Miškūnaitė and Paulius Bagdanavičius. The event was hosted by Jonas Radzevičius.
Maltesers were greeted by Aistė Kairienė, Adviser to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania, Monika Navickienė, Minister of Social Security and Labor, Agnė Andriuškevičienė, Adviser to the Minister of Education, Science and Sport, and Marius Čiurlionis, Advisor to the Ministry of Health. The acknowledgements from these institutions were a well-deserved recognition and honoring of the selfless activities of Maltesers who gathered from all over Lithuania.
Krzysztof Wardawy, Counsellor of the Ambassador of the Order of Malta to Lithuania, who presented a certificate of appreciation on behalf of Ambassador Manfred Ritter Mautner von Markhof, as well as Maltesers from Germany, Ireland, Latvia, and other honored guests and friends of Maltesers.
The most deserving Maltesers this year received special awards – Angels of Kindness. They were awarded to: Vitas Šimkonis – “Angel of Honor”, Marijampolė; Deimantė Baranauskaitė – “Angel of Kindness”, Žilinai; Austėja Leonaitė – “Young Maltese of the Year”, Alytus; Viduklė group – “Maltesers’ Group of the Year”; Virginija Lisauskienė – “Malteser of the Year”, Alytus; Pušalotas Steering Group – “Breakthrough of the Year”; sponsor “Kalnapilis-Tauras Group” – “Angel of Good Deeds”; Laima Jurgelienė – “Angel of Kindness”, Panevėžys; Simnas Group – “Young Maltesers’ Group of the Year”.
The best of the best were awarded with the Order of Malta’s Cross “Pro Merito Melitensi” and a special medal. They were solemnly pinned by Constantin von Brandenstein-Zeppelin, Commissioner for Foreign Relations of the German Maltesers Leadership. The Order of Malta Crosses were presented: Dalia Kedavičienė, Secretary General; Ramutė Lančinskienė, long-time leader of the Žiežmariai group; Angelija Bakšienė, long-time leader of the Vilkaviškis group; Rasa Stukienė, Head of Support and Communication; Edvinas Regelskis, Head of Organisational Development; Eitvydas Bingelis, former Secretary General of the organisation; Andrius Lukašonokas, member of the Presidium. Vice President. Rūta Lukianskytė, a long-standing leader of the Kaunas Group, was awarded a special medal of the Order of Malta. There are just a few such awards in Lithuania.