This Saint is known all over the world for the good deed of giving away his cloak to a more needed person. Ha was born in 315 a.C. at Sabaria in Pannonia, Hungary. Son of a Roman officer, he himself became an imperial guard, until he was baptised then he left the military life and founded the first monastery in the west.
He died on the 8th 397 a.C. at Candes (Gallia).
THE SHIELD INSTITUTE OF SAINT MARTIN
It were founded in 1983 in Florence with a precise scope: awards will be assigned to those who have given help where it was needed, or sent out help to place where there has been a calamity crisis.
Brandimarte, a famous florentine artist, was so impressed by the good deeds done by the human solidarity and made for the occasion a silver shield showing the image of Saint Martin on his horse, in the act of cutting off his cloak in order to give to a person in need. Underneath was inscribed “Robore et Virtute” (Strength and Virtue), strength to continue on the road to a new beginning.
In 1984 there was the first premiership award at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, where there was given a shield also to the urban civil protection of Nizza, the first award to an international Institute.
On the 26th may 1985 Francesco Battiata, a lawyer of Florence, made it public and formally legalized the institute. In November of the same year the second premier ship award was given to the Minister of Defence.
In November 1986 the Deputy Mayor of Tour (France) the city where Saint Martin was buried, during a religions ceremony gave the city grounds to the church of “Saint Martin of Palm”, on the outskirts of Florence, a sign of brotherhood to the Institute. A letter from Pope John Paul II was read out during the awards ceremony. He is an honorary member.
In 1987 those who were given awards were the Fire Brigade of Chernobyl accompanied by the Italian and American Fire Brigade, renewing the symbol of international solidarity.
After this, many ideas were given for future collaboration between French Civil Protection an also Voluntary Groups from Florence and Scandicci.
There was also the Civil Protection of Marseille present for ceremony in Palazzo Vecchio.
In the same year (1987) was held the first delegation abroad, with seats in Losanna (Switzerland) where there are numerous members.
The following years, until today, there has been numerous shields awarded to groups as well as individuals, and new delegations are on the upraise the Institute has given an award, as far away as to the Fire Brigade of New York city.
Also in Kuwait, where many signs of good works being done, were awarded a shield for their good merits.