I knew that in Gradačac there was a lake called Hazna. However, while I was searching for persons for an interview, I learned that there was also a lake called Vidara. When I was in the town, an interview took me specifically to it, and I was literally speechless when I saw its beauty.
Vidara Lake is enormous, surrounded by beautiful nature and I will certainly come back at least one more time because I was promised a boat tour on the lake. :)
What lead me to the lake was an interview with Enes Omerović, the chairman and one of the oldest members of the diving club Vidara.
The diving club was established before the war and it was first called Hazna, after on the smaller lake. As of 1996, this diving club is called Vidara, after the large artificial lake above the town.
They are an important part of the community, because they are always there when help is needed, whether someone drowned or needs to be rescued during floods like the ones in 2014. They got important awards for activities in that year, including also Večernjakov pečat. In addition to this, they have a diving camp with a polygon, where they train young people that would like to engage in this sport. They also became part of the water and underwater rescue service of Tuzla Canton and they also participated in the NATO field exercise ”BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA 2017”, which was held in September near Tuzla.
The diving club ”Vidara” has a long tradition of more than 30 years. Given the fact that we have two lakes, it is inconceivable to have a lake, but to have no divers for different purposes, so that the club was established in 1981. At the beginning, it was called Hazna, because it was initially in Hazna, at the lake. Later on, after the war and because of other needs, we got a location here, we set our diving camp, and have been here ever since.
The club has a large number of members, however there are ”only” 12 professional divers. In order for a person to become a diver, a lot of sacrifices are needed, many investments are needed in terms of materials, finance, etc. The equipment is very costly.
As part of our regular activities, June 20 is the opening of the diving season. That is the period when all new club members start their trainings. They start with theory, part of practical training, and they complete it by August. How many persons will pass the exam and how many will like it, depends on the instructor. The diving club has its own instructor, who is also a member of our association.
You are well known throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina for activities you implemented.
In addition to meeting the obligations related to our lake, the diving club has been at the disposal of the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office from the very beginning. The reason for this is a large number of rivers and lakes in Tuzla Canton. It thus unfortunately happens that people drown. We intervene at the request of the Prosecutor’s Office, not only in the canton, but also beyond, we also go to that part of Republika Srpska that is nearby. They did not have any divers, they established an association of divers only after the floods. We cooperate well, we attend together all these actions, etc.
You were very active during the floods.
The floods are a completely different story, both for the members of the association and the municipality, even for Bosnia and Herzegovina in general. 90% of people were not ready for that natural disaster. Given the fact that we are the way we are, when we have our diving suits on, we do not mind about water or anything. We were therefore the best equipped and prepared for something like that. Before going to other municipalities, there was an intervention in our area in Kerep. A village remained there. We went up there, evacuated persons, cattle, etc. There were all kinds of cases, rescue of a driver whose tractor overturned, etc. Wherever we are needed, we go, whether it is in Republika Srpska or the Federation. People are people and when they need help, we are there.
After the floods, it became necessary to have a unit for water rescue at the level of the canton. We were not adequately equipped or trained, so that the cantonal government trained 10 rescuers. Out of these ten, 5 were divers and 5 were certified water rescuers. All the costs were borne by Tuzla Canton, it ensured training for us and now we have a team of 10 people who are prepared and trained, both materially and in terms of knowledge.
Are you part of civil protection?
Yes, we are part of the Tuzla Canton Civil Protection and we were invited to the NATO exercise. We represented Tuzla Canton and the water rescue unit in the best possible way. It was held together with all national forces and international forces, so that it included Belarus, Ukraine, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, I hope I did not forget anyone. In any case, many of these countries and we got in touch or worked with all of them during the exercise.
The greatest wealth of the club are the people. Material assets are unimportant; a diver gets a really small amount for an intervention or participation in a NATO exercise. There are thus no material values that attract them. It is about love, these are simply people willing to help and that is their satisfaction once we finish work and go back to the club, where we are the happiest and retell it, and then we are proud of ourselves, we feel fulfilled. We did a job. It is about pleasure; material assets are unimportant.