A stricken seafarer's family have been so moved they’ve offered to volunteer in return their services for Apostleship of the Sea after the charity assisted them in their hour of need.
Zlatko Kosack, 50, from Croatia was badly burned while working in a confined space on an oil tanker in Grangemouth towards the end of January which caused burns from the waist down and required a skin graft operation in Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) Port Chaplain for Clydeport, Joe O'Donnell, received an initial phone call from the Harbour Master informing him Zlatko, an engineer on board the ship, had been transferred to hospital and from then on, he offered such a level of practical and spiritual care which made a long-lasting impression upon the Catholic couple.
After his wife Vesna had experienced some initial accommodation problems, Deacon Joe from St Mungo’s arranged for a suitable place to stay instead with the help of AoS.
It soon became clear that Zlatko's body was rejecting the hospital food and, on hearing of this from wife Vesna, Joe arranged for her to use the cooking facilities at nearby St Mungo's on a daily basis.
Touched by all that was done for her, the seafarer's wife expressed here sincere thanks for AoS' support and a genuine offer to help out when they return to Scotland sometime in the future.
Vesna said: "Joe has done so much for us during our time in Scotland. He has been with us every step of the way since my husband entered hospital.
"Every day without fail, he picked me up from the hotel where I was staying before taking me to the supermarket and then up to St Mungo's where I could cook Zlatko's meals.
"He has been there for us in such a huge way that we would both love to try and give something back to AoS by volunteering in some way when everything is back to normal."
Zlatko, who turned 50 only last week, enjoyed a surprise birthday celebration while still in hospital where he was presented with a signed-Artist’s portrait of former Celtic manager Neil Lennon.
A fan of Hadjuk Split, he took time to offer his heart-felt gratitude to Joe and the AoS for their care and attention during his traumatic three-week spell.
He said: "It's something you never really expect to happen when you're so far away from home.
"But Vesna and I have had to deal with the unexpected and without Joe's assistance it would have been extremely difficult.
"We have been shown so much generosity and certainly didn't expect this marvellous birthday present!
"I am a big football fan and it’s safe to say will be looking out for Celtic's results every week from on.”
The experienced seafarer travelled back to his native homeland along with his wife last Saturday, and is now convalescing in a hospital in the Croatian Capital of Zagreb where it's expected he'll take between eight and twelve months to recover fully.
Port Chaplain Joe, who also covers Greenock, Leith, Hunterston and Troon, said: "We're really just doing what we're here to do and helping this lovely couple was the main thing all along.
"We're very grateful to Fr Frank Keevins of St Mungo's, Fr Gareth and all parishioners for showing their kindness and understanding.
"This is precisely why we exist as a charity, to offer such help and support when seafarers need it most, often thousands of miles from their home like Zlatco and Vesna."