Rescue diver Guan Dong, 'Touching China' award winner

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The annual "Touching China" award ceremony held on Feb. 14 honored 10 Chinese inspirational role models in 2015, including Guan Dong, a rescue diver who was awarded for his outstanding contribution to the search and rescue mission following the Eastern Star disaster.

Guan Dong during a diving exercise. [File photo]

Guan Dong during a diving exercise. [File photo] 

Guan, born in 1990, works in the diving and rescue team at the Naval University of Engineering in Wuhan City, Hubei Province in central China. After the cruise ship Eastern Star capsized on the Yangtze River on June 1 last year, he rescued two passengers and gave his own diving equipment to help a stranded person rise to the surface. Without his equipment, Guan was almost swept away by the current, but finally managed to surface, with his eyes bloodshot and nose bleeding.

"People born in different eras may differ in ideas and behaviors, because they grew up under different social conditions, but I believe that most of us who were born in the 1990s can be just as hardy, responsible and dedicated as our elders," Guan said during an interview after he became famous nationwide for his heroic behavior.

Guan was born in a common family in Ningguo City, Anhui Province. His father works in the local city administration department. His mother works in a private company. He has an elder sister, who works in Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province.

Guan's father didn't know his son had participated in Eastern Star's rescue mission. "I saw him on TV and felt very proud," he said. "But when I saw blood running out of his nose, I also felt worried." The next day, Guan's father sent him a message, telling him to work even harder but reminding him to ensure his safety.

In the eyes of his friends, Guan is a robust, warm-hearted young man.

Zhang Pengyuan is a close friend of Guan. The two became friends because of an accident. Zhang joined the rescue team six months later than Guan. As a newcomer, he had inferior diving skills. During an exercise, he dived too fast and almost hit a barrier underwater. At the very point, Guan jumped into the water and saved him. After the accident, Guan began to teach him various diving skills.

Despite his young age, Guan is experienced in diving and works very hard. Therefore, he gradually took on a teaching role in the rescue team, responsible for all new members. He participated in almost all major emergency missions and was always the first to dive into the water.

Diving has occupied most part of his life. In his spare time, he likes playing sports and looking for delicious foods still unknown to the public. Of all sports, Guan likes soccer and cycling most. He has been to almost all scenic spots in Wuhan by bike.

After watching A Bite of China, a popular documentary TV series on the history of food, eating and cooking, Guan made a plan, vowing to have a bite of all delicious foods in Wuhan. The first weekend he developed the plan, he went to a restaurant some eight kilometers away by bike to have a bowl of chow mien (stir-fried noodles). Sadly, his gourmet plan has made no progress due to his busy work and exercise schedule.

Although he has received the "Touching China" award, he remains simple and earnest. "I've never had the thought that I can be one of the 'Touching China' award winners, because I simply did what I should," he said after receiving the award.

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