The Minister of National Defence Panos Kammenos, accompanied by the Chief of HAFGS Lieutenant General Christos Christodoulou, inaugurated the day nursery of the 116 Battle Wing in Araxos.
The Minister of National Defence had earlier visited the 336 Squadron where he talked with the flying personnel and then proceeded to the Base Maintenance Squadron where he addressed the technical personnel.
The Minister of National Defence Panos Kammenos stated the following during his address at the inauguration of the day nursery:
“Today we inaugurate the day nursery with particular pleasure, making another contribution on behalf of the Ministry of National Defence to the families and children of the personnel serving here at the 116 Battle Wing in Araxos, as well as the families and the children of the local society.
In this place where the great family of our Air Force keeps the flag of dignity and of the homeland’s power raised high. The Air Force which even in times of peace sacrifices its children in the line of duty, as was the case with the recently deceased Nikos Vasiliou and Giorgos Mpaltadoros.
The inauguration of the day nursery is the minimum contribution of the State to the members of the Air Force, striving day and night for the country’s security and defence, demonstrating their presence against any national challenge, but also natural disaster. All of us know that apart from their mission they also offer invaluable services to our society and the fellow human, such as continuous air evacuations from our islands, firefighting and several other activities.
Only words of honour and acknowledgement can be expressed for these people by the political and military leadership of the Ministry of National Defence, as well as the Government, all of the Greek people and the whole Nation.
Our sensitivity in personnel issues is a given and our care for the human workforce constitutes a central aspect of our policy. Especially during this year which has been declared the “Year of Personnel Welfare”.
At this point I would like to particularly thank Mr Mayor and the local society, because it is very important, in this effort for the improvement of the living conditions of the members of the Armed Forces and their families, to have the local society and the Church by our side.
Mr Mayor I assure you that this is the first step. I am aware of a crucial issue concerning the Fish Farm of Lake Papas, here in Araxos, which belongs to the Hellenic Navy. I assure you that we will find a solution together, in order to alleviate the local society.
In these hard times, I wish to say that the personnel of Araxos constitutes a shining example. During the crisis and especially during the last three years for which I have the political responsibility, the availability of assets did not diminish – as could be predicted in a year when the budgets suffered a 60% cut - but on the contrary, thanks to the tireless efforts of the personnel – and especially the military and civilian technical personnel – availability was tripled. With their work and self-sacrifice they proved that money is not always the leading factor and that the soul and the high morale also play a crucial part.
I would also like to assure the members of the Armed Forces that in the next few days and by the end of the year the State will do what it must by rectifying the huge income cut which they suffered during the recent years, through the implementation of the State’s Council decision, as was declared by the Prime Minister himself from the Thessaloniki International Fair.
No serviceman, officer, NCO or Professional Soldier will be homeless. We will provide for all the members of the Armed Forces, throughout the country, so that there will be houses provided by the Service.
We cannot make them, NCOs especially, give 80% of their salary to cover the needs which the Service should have covered.
This year we have inaugurated over 450 houses and in the next few months by utilising the Armed Forces property, as with the case of the Fish Farm of Lake Papas, this amount of money will benefit the personnel.
In the context of this policy we are reconstructing and upgrading hospital infrastructures, we renovate existing military residencies, so that the Armed Forces members and their families will live with dignity and finally we expand the function of the day nurseries for all the services of the Armed Forces.
At this day nursery which comes from the reconstruction of an existing building, you will offer your children, the future of this land, a warm family environment, a warm embrace aside from yours, so that we will help them make their first steps securely from the small society of their family to the wider society.
I believe that in the next few months we will be able to satisfy the children’s request for a playground nearby, so that they will be able to have fun during the hours when they are not in the nursery.