On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, the Magallanes Region Manager of Nova Austral, Drago Covacich McKay, was named the newest Distinguished Citizen of Porvenir, a town located in the province of Tierra del Fuego in southern Chile, as a part of the festivities for the 124th Anniversary of the city’s foundation. As the respective decree reads, this award was given in accordance with the agreement of the City Council to distinguish this esteemed local citizen, who stands out in the areas of human, social, and productive development and has enhanced his community. The award was presented by the current Mayor of Porvenir, Marisol Andrade, during the official lunch for the Anniversary Celebration, which took place in the Croatian Club of Porvenir.

While being awarded, Covacich recalled the beginnings of the local fishing industry that he is a part of, such as his own legacy with his father’s now closed company, COMAK. He detailed some of Porvenir’s most difficult times, “when the Navarino Law did not exist” and jobs were scarce. He also highlighted the pioneering efforts of his grandfather, the founder of a seafood packing plant and the local telephone company, and his father, who continued the family business and started a pork processing factory and later, delved into aquaculture, together with so many other settlers of the island of Tierra del Fuego as examples of perseverance and commitment. He showed his appreciation to the community authorities and the local citizens for the honor, for which he said he has received many best wishes and congratulations.

Message of optimism

In his finishing statements, Mr. Covacich McKay expressed his desire that the take-off that the city has experienced in recent years continues to be a reality, adding that he hopes that the population will grow to around 10,000 inhabitants so that the city could establish itself with greater autonomy. Furthermore, he assured that the company that he currently manages regionally, Nova Austral, will continue its partnerships with the institutions, students, and the general community of Porvenir. (While under Covacich’s regional leadership, the company has provided technological resources to local preschools, awarded scholarships to top performing high school seniors, signed an agreement to help fund the local fire department, allotted funds to improve local sports programs, and helped to support the development of local small businesses.) He concluded his speech by calling for the local community to include immigrants as citizens of Porvenir, since they contribute to giving life to the city through their hard work, just like his own ancestors did and as his daughters are doing today while living abroad.

The mayor of Porvenir, Marisol Andrade Cardenas, expressed her satisfaction at rewarding such an outstanding local community member, someone whose family has always provided a source of jobs to people in Tierra del Fuego from their business endeavors and someone who has shown, over time, that he has, like his father and grandfather before him, never forgotten his close bond with his hometown and works together with local authorities to contribute to its growth. She echoed the words
of the honoree, asking that the people of Tierra del Fuego come together with and embrace immigrants, since, in her opinion, “they are people from Porvenir just as much as those of us who were born or have always lived here and like those who decided today to settle and live with us.”

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