The Novi Sad Voluntary Service lost their oldest member – Milan Dudić, better known as Grandpa Mića among the citizens of Novi Sad, who received the October Award of Novi Sad on behalf of all the Novi Sad volunteers. Grandpa Mića was known for his honour, kindness, modesty and dignity – he was a gentleman in every sense.
Here is a short interview that Milan Dudić gave for the Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture project regarding the award he won, and on this occasion, he talked about the things that made him want to volunteer. Rest in peace Grandpa Mića, it was an honour to have known you!
It is very important to me that the volunteers received the acknowledgement and that I was the one to accept it, since volunteering has gone unnoticed until now.
As soon as the pandemic of COVID-19 was announced, I applied to make my contribution, but we, people older than 65 years, couldn’t participate in volunteering since we were the risk group. I was given advice to make masks for a tailor shop. I did that all the while there was a need for masks. When I stopped working for the shop, I made 50 masks from my own material and I donated them to the Gerontology Centre of Novi Sad. Then, I continued to make masks and linen shopping bags. I made around 40 masks and bags and gave them to my relatives, neighbours and friends. I didn’t feel as if I was under curfew while doing this, and it was a pleasure to know that I would be giving presents to someone – masks, which were obviously needed, and shopping bags, which would make women happy.
When it comes to motivation for volunteering, I can say that I have had it since my early childhood, when I hardly knew what volunteering even was. I was born in Mokrin, just outside the village. There was a shepherd who pastured a flock of sheep at the nearby meadow and milked them at night, before turning them back into the yard. I helped him by not letting sheep stray from him, since he was sitting near the yard door, milking them one after another and then letting them in the yard afterwards. At that time, I was 4 or 5 years old.
I was a blood donor until I was 65. Although it usually remains unknown who you receive blood from, I had a chance to find out that a woman giving birth in a hospital in Kikinda received my blood. I have, as they have been saying, a rare blood type, which is AB positive, and they said that I was a ‘golden blood donor’. Nurse in the maternity hospital was a neighbour living in my street, and the woman giving birth was from the same street in Kikinda, so I believe that the nurse found out that the woman received my rare blood type and then told her. Afterwards, the woman who was giving birth said that my blood helped her. I was proud to be a donor for unknown recipients, and this case, when I heard whom I helped, was really special to me.
Even before the Law on Organ Donation was adopted, I had been asking doctors how I could donate my organs. As soon as the Law had been adopted, I donated my organs and I have had the Organ Donor card since 2008.
Sometime later, I donated my body to the Institute of Anatomy of the Faculty of Medicine in Novi Sad.
I have had a friend whose son studied to become an apprentice hairdresser. He was already in the third grade, but he didn’t know how to cut hair, since customers didn’t want an apprentice to cut their hair. I suggested his father and my friend that we should let his son cut our hair, so that he could gain some experience. We went there together and when the seat was free, my friend sat and let him cut his hair without saying a word. When it was my turn, my friend told the hairdresser that I would like the apprentice, his son, to cut my hair.
When I needed a dentist, I went to the University of Dentistry, so that students could practice.
I was a member of the Scout Association, whose aim is teaching their members how to help other people.
Therefore, I can say that volunteering is in my blood.
I don’t know the exact date when I joined the Novi Sad Voluntary Service. It was 3 or 4 years ago.
I don’t have the exact record of participation at voluntary actions, but I have 19 accreditations of volunteering during different actions, while I used the NVS accreditation several times. I am proud that I have a unique accreditation, made for receiving the October Award. I find it most demanding when there is no active work during volunteering. For me, being active while doing something is important.
Having in mind that I am 83 years old, and considering the knowledge and skills I have gained during my life, I cannot say that I have learned anything, since I have only used the knowledge I gained earlier.