I am pleased to share with you a story of courage and sacrifice. Every day, people make small sacrifices that go unnoticed but work collectively to create strong families and communities. The importance of these sacrifices are often assumed rather than celebrated. However, every now and again there is an act of human courage that cannot go unnoticed and must be celebrated. An act that reminds us that human beings can be selfless and brave.
Alexi Ananenko, Valeri Bezpoalov and Boris Baronov are men that remind us of this type of bravery and sacrifice.
In 1986, a sudden surge of power during a reactor systems test destroyed Unit 4 of Chernobyl's nuclear power plant, spewing massive amounts of deadly radioactive material into the environment. The death toll was unknown and rumoured to be anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand.
While many perished, three clean-up volunteers – Alexi Ananenko, Valeri Bezpoalov and Boris Baronov – willingly met their fate.
During the well-documented disaster, a pool of water used for emergencies in case of a break in the cooling pumps or steam pipes became flooded with a highly radioactive liquid that was in danger of blowing up.
These three men suited up in scuba gear and swam into the radioactive waters of the flooded chamber, knowing full well they would die as a result. They opened up a gate valve, which allowed the contaminated water to drain out.
Days after reaching the surface all three men succumbed to radiation poisoning and were buried in lead coffins. If not for the bravery of the “Chernobyl Suicide Squad” a thermal explosion would have taken place resulting in unfathomable disaster.
A truly heroic act and one that we should remember and laud and use to inspire our children to not only be ambitious in their own lives and achievements but in the type of person they strive to become.
Alas it seems that most children are instead presented with Love Island contestants as being the type of person they should aspire to become.
As Donald Trump would say; SAD.