Peres praises soldier, rewards volunteers

President Shimon Peres took time from an awards ceremony for volunteerism held at Beit Hanassi on Wednesday to commend the off-duty soldier who acted quickly to kill the terrorist who, earlier, had rampaged in downtown Jerusalem with his heavy construction vehicle. "He unhesitatingly put his life at risk, and later said that it was his obligation to do so," said Peres, who also sent his condolences to the bereaved families of the victims and a message for a speedy recovery to the people hurt in the rampage. "When it comes to our destiny, we are all one people," he said. Twelve individuals and organizations were selected for awards out of 405 nominees. "Every one of these extraordinary acts of volunteerism and every volunteer who received an award are the beams of light, of love, of compassion, of humanity, of a merciful heart, a generous soul and a fraternal hand stretched out to help all those in need," Peres said. In a departure from previous years, the president also introduced a posthumous honorary mention to 12-year-old Omri Gilor who died after a mound of sand collapsed on him in April of this year. Two months prior to his death, Omri had told his mother that in the event that anything should happen to him, he wanted to be able to help prolong the lives of other people by donating his organs. To ensure that this was understood, he carried an ADI organ donor card. After his death, his organs were transplanted into the bodies of other children ages eight to 16. Peres was moved by the sensitivity and responsibility demonstrated by so young a boy who with his death gave life to seven others.