Today’s Shining World Hero Award will be presented in Ukrainian and Russian, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Ukrainian and Thai.

Everywhere in the world, we can observe and be touched by acts of kindness. People from all walks of life, faiths, and cultures extend themselves beyond the call of duty to help others unconditionally. Through their noble deeds, humanity as a whole is elevated.

To commend virtuous actions and encourage more people to be inspired by their examples, Supreme Master Ching Hai has lovingly created a series of awards, including the Shining World Leadership Award, Shining World Compassion Award, Shining World Hero and Heroine Awards, Shining World Honesty Award, Shining World Protection Award, Shining World Intelligence Award, and Shining World Inventor Award, to recognize some of the most exemplary, generous, caring, and courageous people who walk amongst us.

Greetings kind viewers. Today, we’ll meet 12-year-old Andrey Zhovtonog from Kiev, Ukraine. One day, on their way to visit relatives near Kiev, Andrey and his kindergartener brother Bogdan encountered unexpected – and dangerous – circumstances.

That day, I picked up my little brother Bogdan from kindergarten. We were going to visit aunt Nastya. On the way there, he got out of my hands and wanted to slide on the hill. He kept begging me. I told him: “Fine. One time.” He fell into the manhole.

This [cover] was not here before. This [well] was covered up afterwards.

I immediately jumped after him. He was drowning already. And he started screaming: “I can`t see anything! Brother, I’m scared!” I opened his eyes. And told him, “Everything will be fine. You don’t panic.”

Didn’t have time to think, right? No, I immediately jump after him. I didn’t think anything.

I immediately put him up on my shoulders.

To keep his little brother dry and safe, Andrey hoisted Bogdan on his shoulders. But to lift him up that high from the water was not an easy task. In this stressful situation, Andrey figured out the appropriate solution – he dived in the water, got his brother from underneath and lifted him up.

I gave him a stick, so he could hold on to it. And I dived in the water, got him on my shoulders and I stood up.

Bogdan, tell us… when you were in the pit, when you fell, were you scared?

Very very much.

Did you freeze? (I did.)

An hour passed, then another, and another. It would be seven long hours before they would be found. But Andrey didn’t give up hope that they would be okay in the end. It was getting dark, though, and it was bitter cold.

About what were you saying to your brother, to make him calm?

About fairy-tales, singing, things like these.

While the two brothers were struggling not to succumb to the freezing temperature, their parents were going through a most difficult ordeal a parent could experience.

Once he [Andrey] crosses the road, he always gives me a call: “I’ve already crossed. Don’t worry.” But this time, he didn’t call me. I called him at six o’clock – he didn’t answer the call. So they had been there already at six o’clock. And at half past 12 am, he was taken out.

At night? (Yes.)

We were walking and looking for them all around, on lakes, on ice, everywhere. Many policemen came, everyone was walking around the ravines, looking. And then they called me.

I came. I entered the [hospital] emergency room. The first thing I saw was the wet clothes lying in the corridor. I am saying, “Is he alive? Are my boys alive or not alive?” I came in and saw Andrey lying there. He could not walk. He had spasms in his legs and was not able to walk. And Bogdan saw me. He screams at me: “Dad, we are alive!” We fell into a hole. Some uncle pulled us out from there!

How has this event changed your attitude towards your elder son?

That he is not a 12-year- old kid, he is already a grown up man, because...

not all adults could do so as my son had done.

How did your classmates, teacher and parents react to your action?

They have a lot of respect, because I saved the life of my younger brother.

For his brave and selfless deed, Supreme Master Ching Hai honored Andrey with the Shining World Hero Award, along with a letter of appreciation. She also sent gifts and US$1,500 to help Andrey and his family in any way needed. The ceremony was held at Andrey’s school in front of many students, including Andrey’s friends who also wished to pay tribute to his heroic act. The following is Supreme Master Ching Hai’s letter to Andrey.

“Dear Andrey, It is with much pleasure and gratitude that we present to you the “Shining World Hero Award.” This Award is presented in recognition of your extraordinary bravery in the face of danger – despite your tender age, and for enduring harsh and difficult conditions to save a precious life, showing us all a gallant example of selflessness.

While you and your younger brother Bogdan were out walking on your way to visit relatives in a nearby village, he suddenly ran off the road and disappeared down an old abandoned well. You quickly went to investigate, and could only see the surface of the water below, so you bravely jumped in to help your dear little brother. The water level came up to your armpits, but you managed to grab him and calm him down. You then realized your perilous situation.

With no signal showing on your mobile phone, no one could know where you were trapped. Both the air and water were freezing and the weather above ground was at minus 10oC, so you decided to protect your brother by lifting him out of the water and onto your shoulders and await rescue. As your father had worked for the police crime squad, you had faith he would eventually arrange a search party. Seven hours later, sniffer dogs had tracked your location, finding you in the same position valiantly supporting Bogdan above the water. We salute you Andrey, for your quick thinking and courageous efforts that saved your younger brother’s life.

May you both enjoy many precious moments of cherished times together in the loving company of family and friends. For your outstanding bravery and act of sacrifice with no regard for your own safety, and for being a dedicated and pure-hearted role model, we hereby applaud and celebrate the loving and compassionate deeds of Andrey Zhovtonog – local hero of Kiev! With Great Honour, Love and Blessings, Supreme Master Ching Hai” And now, we have the honor to present to Andrey Zhovtonog the Shining World Hero Award plaque.

Andrey is active, participates in very many class activities. In his class, he is responsible in sports and public activities. Polite, friendly, and has leadership among his classmates and children of the school. He is a talented dancer and singer. He is also a member of the folkloric choir, Kalinovka.

Andrey loves being a member of the Ukrainian National Children Folk Choir, Kalinovka, one of the most recognized children’s choirs in Ukraine. Kalinovka participates in many festivals and events and has been praised by government and church leaders. Recently, the choir even had the opportunity to perform with the prominent Folk Artist of Ukraine, Ms. Alla Kudlay.

Let our Andrey have... For many, many years Health and salvation for many years many years, years many years, many years, years many years Health and salvation for many years

Andrey is not only talented and accomplished, but also well-liked, caring, and of course, very noble.

Among the other gifts that he received were Supreme Master Ching Hai’s #1 international bestsellers, “The Birds in My Life,” “The Dogs in My Life,” and “The Noble Wilds,” a special t-shirt with the word “Hero” emblazoned on the front, and some of Supreme Master Ching Hai’s valuable lecture DVDs and melodious music CDs.

Andrey expressed his thankfulness for Supreme Master Ching Hai’s loving acknowledgement, award, and gifts.

I would like to say, “Big thanks. Thank you very much for coming to see me.” [I’m thankful] that there is such a foundation that supports heroic people who save other people.

Andrey Zhovtonog, we sincerely applaud you for being such a heroic example of courage, selflessness and astuteness. May you and your brother continue to bring joy to your parents, teachers and friends. Wishing you all abundant happiness, safety, and blessings.

Marvelous viewers, thank you for your company on today's program. Words of Wisdom is coming up next after Noteworthy News. May courage and wisdom always guide our lives.