Loulé delivered, this Saturday, May 20, six gold and silver merit medals to names such as Seruca Emídio, former mayor, Neto Gomes, journalist, and Rui Lourenço, doctor and former president of the Regional Health Administration (ARS) in the Algarve.
The Grade Gold Medal was awarded to Seruca Emídio, Manuel Neto Gomes, Louletano Sports Club, João Santos, Alberto Melo and Albertina Madeira.
The Silver Grade distinguished Rui Lourenço, Marina Valentina Tavares, José Branco, Joaquim Viegas, João Martins, Filipe Viegas, Augusto César, APAGL – Associação de Pais e Amigos da Ginástica de Loulé and Armando Coelho.
As explained by Vítor Aleixo, mayor of Loulé, the choice of recipients is guided by «criteria of rigour, coherence and impartiality». Through the Consultative Council and the Commendations Commission, this process is «long and carried out in a democratic way» and involves local authorities, associations, schools, political parties, municipal bodies and citizens.
«There are many exceptional people around us», highlighted Vítor Aleixo.
More than a medal and a diploma, this distinction should be «a source of great pride, as it is something exceptional, which is not available to everyone, but only to those who, due to their dedication, work, or even genius and art, deserved this unique recognition», he noted.
At this moment, Vítor Aleixo highlighted the spirit of cohesion and high self-esteem of the people of Loulé, also recalling «the values that this municipality has given to the country, from Presidents of the Republic to writers, from musicians to athletes».
«The place of the people of Loulé cannot be any other than being where the first are. It was this feeling that always animated us », she said.
On the other hand, «in a land open to the world and to others», he also spoke of the «adoptive» people from Loulé, people who, due to life circumstances, came to Loulé and who «are Loulé people in body and soul». They too, with their work, have contributed to «making Loulé the county it is today».
In 2017, he received the Gold Grade Municipal Merit Medal, and today, as President of the Municipal Assembly of Loulé, Carlos Silva Gomes, also left a few words to the honorees, highlighting his role in raising the quality of democracy in this county.
«Today we celebrate merits, accomplishments or contributions, as well as exemplary performances of functions whose authors revealed high standards of demand in their respective areas and professional and/or personal paths», he said.
In addition to "reinforcing civilizational ties", this official said that this recognition is also a way of "celebrating the fight against ignorance, intolerance, individualism and indifference".
The ceremony for the recipients of the Municipality of Loulé has been held since 1993 and, over these 30 years, more than 200 people from Loulé have already been honored with Medals of Honor and Medals of Merit – Gold, Silver and Bronze.
The 2023 Honorees
General practitioner, director of the Loulé Health Center from 1986 to 1988, Sebastião Seruca Emídio he served as mayor of Loulé from 2001 to 2013. His municipal project was based on the creation of infrastructure in various areas, from the road network to sanitation, urban rehabilitation, to , from sports to social facilities, but the rehabilitation of the Hospital de Loulé was one of its main goals. On June 10, 2014, he was decorated by the President of the Republic, with the Comendador Grade Medal of the Order of Merit.
Unmistakable figure of communication, Manuel Neto Gomes He has been a journalist for over 50 years. She collaborated in dozens of regional and national media outlets, press offices and coordinated several editorial projects. She marked an era as speaker of the Tour of Portugal by Bicycle. He carried out various activities linked to the tourism sector, sports and road safety. He has a vast literary work published.
In the year in which it celebrates its centenary, the Louletano Sports Club receives yet another Medal of Municipal Merit. After being awarded Silver in 93, this year it was awarded the Gold Degree. An eclectic club, today it has structures of great vitality, from Cycling to Gymnastics, from Triathlon to Swimming or to football training courses, among many other modalities. The club moves around 1500 athletes, some of which represent the National Team, it holds several titles and national records and has also had honorable classifications at world level.
He was posthumously awarded João Santos, Professor of Biology and Ecology, he was an “alarm clock” of the ecological awareness of several generations of young people. Environmental activist, he was one of the founders and the main face of Associação Almargem. A great defender of the Algarve's natural heritage, he was a visionary.
alberto melo He has a degree in Law at the University of Lisbon and a post-graduate degree in Adult Education at the University of Manchester. University professor, consultant at the OECD, advisor to the permanent delegation of Portugal, to UNESCO, among other functions. He was in charge of several missions, national and international, in areas such as integrated local development, active citizenship, participatory democracy, education and adult training.
At 100 years of age, Albertina Madeira continues to run the Alte newspaper, “Ecos da Serra”, which she founded in 1967, and is currently the oldest director at the head of a newspaper in Portugal. Born in this inland village, from a very young age she has been linked to the cultural, social and religious life of her land. It is a living encyclopedia of habits, customs and traditions.
Specialist in General and Family Medicine, senior graduate assistant of the SNS, Rui Lourenço he was director of the Loulé Health Center (from 1996 to 2003) and president of ARS Algarve (from 2005 to 2011). A family doctor in Quarteira since 2011, he is part of the “Estrela-do-Mar” Family Health Unit, of which he is coordinator. He has been a guest professor at the University of Algarve since 2002, first at the Escola Superior de Saúde where he taught until 2019, and then at the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, where he has been a guest professor since 2011, and a member of the advisory board since 2018.
Public Health Specialist, Maria Valentina Tavares collaborated with enthusiasm in the implementation of the SNS in the Algarve. She was a regional health delegate for the Algarve, having implemented several municipal and regional programs in favor of community health, for example in the area of drug addiction prevention. She was one of the founders, and president for more than 20 years, of the Centro de Apoio à Criança de Quarteira. She is president of the Association of Forestry Producers of Serra do Caldeirão.
jose white He headed to Loulé in 1983, where he started out as part of the Sociedade Filarmónica Artistas de Minerva, “Música Nova”. In 1988, he became conductor of the band, a position he would hold until 2022. Together with João Sabóia and teachers Francisco Rosado and Konstantin Gotzen, he created the Loulé Municipality Music School, a school that, despite the changes undergone to the over time, she would eventually be integrated into Artistas de Minerva, in 2018. She worked there for 24 years. Until today, he was the youngest conductor to start activity in a philharmonic band in the Algarve and the one who remained in the same philharmonic band in the region for the longest time – 34 years.
Joaquim Viegas dedicated his life to the sporting phenomenon, particularly in his homeland, Loulé. Since childhood, sport has been part of his daily life, not only as an athlete, coach but also participating in the associative component, having integrated, among others, the two main clubs in the city, Campinense and Louletano. He played a leading role in the emergence of water polo in Loulé and is dubbed by many as “the father of Loulé water polo”. He was also linked to pigeon racing and mountain biking.
Joao Martins He performed important municipal functions in the parish of Almancil, where he held the positions of president of the Parish Council and president of the Parish Assembly. He was councilor of the Loulé Chamber, from 2013 to 2017. He stimulated citizens' movements and other associations, with special emphasis on the contribution and commitment to the Associação 25 de Abril, ASCA and DOINA. Free thinker, builder of a more just, equal and fraternal society, he gave himself body and soul to social and humanitarian causes, to the development of Democracy and Freedom. This Medal was awarded posthumously.
Filipe Viegas he devoted himself entirely to the progress of his land, Quarteira, on a political level, but also maintaining an active role in the local recreational and cultural dynamics. He was president of the Parish Council of Quarteira, between 1998 and 2001, when one of the main infrastructures for this fishing community was created in this parish, the fishing port of Quarteira. He wrote plays for the theater, some of them performed in shows to support charitable causes, and he also has published work.
Augustus Caesar his life was always linked to the mountainous area of the municipality of Loulé. He was the founder and number 1 partner of the Social Solidarity Institution of Serra do Cadeirão, headquartered in Barranco do Velho. He was the promoter, founder and director of the Cortelha Association for 18 years, having contributed to the implementation of important improvements in this village.
Founded in 1992, APAGL – Loulé Gymnastics Parents and Friends Association aims to promote physical activity and sport. It intends to cement the practice of training sports and high competition in the gymnastics modalities of Acrobatic Gymnastics and Trampoline Gymnastics. In its history, its gymnasts have been medaled at national and international level, as a corollary of their commitment, merit and quality of the technical team that accompanies them. It also seeks to promote the practice of gymnastics activities within the scope of leisure, maintenance and physical-motor well-being. It organizes sporting events at regional, national and even international level, such as the Loulé Cup.
Employee of the Municipality of Loulé for 38 years, Armando Coelho throughout all these years, it maintains a working relationship – but above all an affective one – with the institution and with all those who work here. Always linked to the President's Support Office, but also with a collaboration for more than two decades at Cineteatro Louletano and in support of the Municipal Assembly.