Two sea scouts from the island of Lesvos, 18-year-old Xenophon Koukoutas and Yiannis Svoros, on Saturday accepted the inaugural John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service on behalf of the residents of their entire island, for their “heroic support of refugees fleeing mayhem throughout the Middle East and Africa.”
The prize was presented by the wife of the late Senator John S. McCain, Cindy McCain, at the 10th annual Halifax International Security Forum held in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
“In bestowing this prize upon the People of Lesvos, we recognize the sacrifices that so many ordinary people have made to bring safety, comfort, and hope to refugees enduring desperate hardship. It is my sincerest wish that this award will also serve to inspire others, wherever they may be in the world, to stand up for what is right,” she said in a statement when the recipient of the prize was announced.
Xenophon Koukoutas is a student at Piraeus University and a member of the Nea Smyrni 1st Sea Scout System, while Yiannis Svoros is a student at the Mytilene state Vocational Training Institute and a member of the 3rd Sea Scout System of Mytilene.